Moltmann to Speak this Fall at Candler School of Theology (Atlanta)

Jürgen Moltmann at Candler School of Theology in 2011. Image source:

Jürgen Moltmann will be speaking at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology this Fall at a conference titled “Unfinished Worlds: Jürgen Moltmann at 90.” It takes place October 19-20, 2016 in Atlanta. I was able to see Moltmann last year at Princeton (when he was 89!) and felt at the time that it would be my last chance to do so. I’m delighted that this conference may be another opportunity! It is my hope to attend but I haven’t yet figured out the logistics.

The topic of Moltmann’s lecture will be “Unfinished Reformation.” Other presenters include Joy Ann McDougall (Candler), Jennifer Ayres (Candler), Nancy Bedford (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary), Reggie Williams (McCormick Theological Seminary), Raphael G. Warnock (Ebenezer Baptist Church), Charles Mathewes (University of Virginia), Joshua Ralston (University of Edinburgh), Gerald Liu (Drew Theological School), Reinerio Arce-Valentín (Matanzas Theological Seminary), Rachelle Renee Green (Emory University), and Hilda P. Koster (Concordia College).

From the event website:

Candler School of Theology at Emory University will host world-renowned theologian Jürgen Moltmann for a two-day conference on Wednesday and Thursday, October 19-20, 2016. Panelists will explore the impact and influence of Moltmann’s work on issues of contemporary theology, the contemporary church, and the contemporary world, with a closing response from Moltmann.

Registration is just $30. Learn more here:

As I learn more details about the conference I will update this post.

Thinking about attending this event? Drop me a comment below! I would love to connect with you there (assuming it works out for me to make it).

Fury in Orlando (Guest Post by Mark Buchanan)

Guest post by Mark Buchanan. Mark is a Presbyterian Pastor specializing in multicultural ministry in the Los Angeles area. He has been an enthusiastic student of Jürgen Moltmann’s theology since encountering Dr. Moltmann while a seminarian at Princeton Seminary. He writes using engaging real life stories to illustrate and bring to life the central tenets of Dr. Moltmann’s theology. He currently resides in Pasadena, California with his wife and children. I reviewed Mark’s book, Embraced: Many Stories, One Destiny here (it is a great primer on Moltmann in the form of story… Check it out!).

Fury in Orlando

Almost 20 years ago Jürgen Moltmann wrote, “Nothing is more dangerous in this world than disappointed love and love that has miscarried. Disappointed love for God which has missed its mark is the power that destroys, the fury of annihilation”(SoL, pg. 78). In Orlando such fury savagely cut life short, imprinted terror upon those who witnessed the unspeakable carnage and confounded all who search for a link between faith in God and hatred that slaughters the innocent. Yet in this time of sorrow and bewilderment, Moltmann’s insights ring true. In his book, The Source of Life, Moltmann identifies this incongruity in the decision made by those drawn to God’s power and goodness to secure their own dignity and to create a destiny for their own good, rather than the good of the whole human community.

Writing about that which is traditionally called sin, Moltmann recognizes the aggravation of those who are attracted to God but mistakenly turn to things which fail to provide them the happiness and security they sought. Such disappointment awakens fear and “this fear evokes hate of things and hate of the self: and this hate generates aggression and acts of violence (SoL, pg. 78). Moltmann first uses the term “miscarried life”(SoL, pg. 72) to describe a life that has failed to deliver its initial promise. When applying it to a “miscarried love for God”, he is referring to a love for God that has failed to birth new and fulfilling life. This stillbirth then leads to profound disappointment, disorientation, disillusionment, anger and isolation. It is this scenario that then leaves those engaged in sectarian activism to battle the “death-drive of evil” alone (Sol, pg. 73), and to be ultimately drawn to committing egregious acts of violence.

This same vulnerability applies not only to individuals and those engaging in sectarian activism but to institutions and nations who out of fear seek to dominate and in the name of God forcefully seize that which is in their own interest. While in The Source of Life, Moltmann does not specifically address sectarian violence, he does identify its root cause in the separation of spirit and body and this worldly life and heavenly life. “True spirituality” Moltmann writes, “is the rebirth of the full and undivided love of life”(SoL, pg. 85) in which God makes his home on earth and the human community its home in God.

Moltmann proposes that people of faith do not respond to the fury we have witnessed in Orlando by escaping into an inward search for spiritual union with God free from the world’s suffering. Instead Moltmann points us to the truth about our isolation and alienation from one another and from God as members of the whole human family. He urges us to acknowledge that the chains that keep us separated have begun “to hurt”. He writes, “We can no longer come to terms with them. We begin to rub ourselves raw on them until they break…If redemption is close at hand, we stop being accustomed to evil; the habit of mind that accepts it is broken. Then we get up out of our apathy and change things. I have always thought that the worst sins of all are to get accustomed to injustice and misery”(SoL, pg. 74-5).

Boldly Moltmann proclaims, “What we need is not a new religion, or a new peace between religions. What we need is life – whole, full and undivided life.”(SoL, pg. 21). Hope is the expectation that out of death, Christ was raised to new life and through the love of the triune God this life will be shared. Yet hope is not something we produce for ourselves, rather it is an effect of the resurrection. It is a living hope that dawns upon the living and the dead. It is as Moltmann concludes, “a resurrection with the dead and with this blood-soaked earth. In the light of Christ’s resurrection we can already trace the contours of the ‘new earth’ (Rev. 21:1), where ‘death will be no more neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more’ (Rev. 21:4).

Enlarging our vision of the future that the God of the resurrection will share with his people is worthy of both our deepest devotion and the full employment of our imaginations. The new life that springs out of death through the resurrection releases all of God’s creation from the destiny of death and decay. In Moltmann words, “we remember Christ’s resurrection in the splendor of the divine, eternal life that is embracing our human and mortal life already here and now.” (Christianity: A Religion of Joy, pg.15) It is this embrace that beckons every person into the hope of an everlasting future with God.

What Moltmann encourages us to do as we face the fury of hatred and blood thirsty revenge is to recognize the offense that has been committed against God’s future and to resist it with actions that uphold the whole human family. What Moltmann inspires us to do is to poetically image our future in Christ with the triune God, a future our minds can only introduce, but our deepest longings for the whole human community already taste. We are to allow our deepest longings to anticipate the fulfillment of new life, traces of which are alive in us. Here we are to dwell in a “living hope” full of a “living love” that gives birth to life that seek to include everyone.

Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel has died

Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel in "Love: The Foundation of Hope" (around 1987)
Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel in “Love: The Foundation of Hope” (around 1987)

“Love never ends. It goes beyond death.”
Jürgen Moltmann, speaking of his wife Elisabeth during a recent Work of the People interview.

I’ve just learned that Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel, famous feminist theologian and wife of fellow theologian Jürgen Moltmann, died on Tuesday, June 7. She was 89. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Via (with thanks to Google Translate):

The feminist theologian Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel is dead. She died on June 7 at the age of 89 years in Tübingen [….] She became internationally known as one of the pioneers of feminist theology in Germany and the author of numerous books and studies. Since 1952 she was married to the Protestant theologian Jürgen Moltmann and had four daughters.
Read more….

Elisabeth’s works available in English include I Am My Body, Rediscovering Friendship and The Women Around Jesus.  An incredible theologian in her own right, she also had a profound impact on the thinking of her husband Jürgen. Anyone who reads his books will find the influence of his wife throughout. As he writes of her in his autobiography:

Personally, the discussions with Elisabeth about a joint theology taught me to say ‘I’ and to withdraw my seemingly objective professional language – ‘this is the way it is’ – reducing it to my own conviction. Whatever we see and perceive is limited by the conditions of the place where we stand. If we want to communicate our perception to other people, we must be aware of our perspectives. Male and female existence in their respective socio-cultural forms are part of the conditions for possible perceptions. This does not at all mean putting what has been perceived down to existential conditions, as Feuerbach and Marx thought. Not every objective perception is ‘nothing other than’ a self-perception, but every perception is a link between the perceiver and the perceived, and creates community between the two. Consequently, the subjective perception of one’s self belongs to every perception of God, even if this leads to a self-forgetting astonishment. I have learnt to introduce theological questions and perceptions into the context of the life in which I myself am living together with others. For this path ‘out of ideas into life’ I have to thank Elisabeth and her feminist theology.

A Broad Place, 330-331

Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel and her husband Jürgen Moltmann coauthored and/or contributed to several books together, including Passion for God: Theology in Two Voices, God: His and Hers, Humanity in God, and Love: The Foundation of Hope.

At the Emergent Village Conversation in 2009, Jürgen Moltmann was asked about what it was like being married to a fellow theologian. Listen to his response:

I regret that most of my direct exposure to Elisabeth’s writing so far has been through a chapter here and a chapter there. I hope to remedy this shortcoming in my reading very soon, and have just picked up Rediscovering Friendship on Kindle (it happens to be on sale for $3.99 at the moment).

Readers of this blog may remember that last year I digitized some old video of Jürgen Moltmann and Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel and posted it here. This segment, Theology of Hope: A Feminist Response, featured Elisabeth especially. It is well worth watching!

Jürgen Moltmann’s Top 10 Books

 Yesterday the great theologian of hope celebrated his 90th birthday. Last year I marked his 89th birthday on this blog with a top 10 list of my favorite Moltmann quotes. This year (and only a day late!) I’ve put together a list of my favorite Moltmann books.  I’ve read almost all of the Moltmannian corpus over the course of the last few years, and have a pretty good idea of which of them are most important to me. Below is a countdown of my top ten favorite books written by Moltmann, saving my favorite for last. I’ve also attempted to provide a brief explanation of why each of these is important enough to be included. What are your favorite Moltmann books? Please share in the comment section below! Continue reading Jürgen Moltmann’s Top 10 Books

Moltmann on Easter Jubilation

  In his newest book, The Living God and the Fullness of Life, Moltmann contends that all the Christian festivals (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost) exemplify Christianity as a religion of joy. This was also a theme in Moltmann’s conversation with Miroslav Volf in 2014, and in his essay over on the Yale Theology of Joy website (sidebar: this same essay appears to also be included in the new book, Joy and Human Flourishing – check it out!). Anyway, I’ve already shared Moltmann’s comments about Christmas from this text, and will try to get a post out about Pentecost at the appropriate time. Today I would like to share this short text about what Easter means for Christianity as a religion of joy. Enjoy!

Easter is the central feast day of Eastern Christianity. Christ’s resurrection and the appearance in him of eternal life on this earth are the inexhaustible reason for the Easter jubilation. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Following the canon of John of Damascus, the church sings: 

Everything brims over with light, Heaven and earth, and the world below the earth. All creation celebrates with joy Christ’s rising For now creation is assured. The West also knows that the resurrection is not only a human event, but a cosmic one as well: 

Earth with joy confesses, clothing her for spring. All good gifts restored with her returning king. Bloom in every meadow, leaves on every bough, speak his sorrows ended, hail his triumph now. 

Following the Old Testament pattern, Easter joy is the earth’s joy, too. That is why Easter is celebrated in the spring in the northern hemisphere, as the springtime of the new eternal creation.

The Living God and the Fullness of Life, Kindle Location 1253

Thanks to Westminster John Knox Press for providing me with a free digital copy of this book. 

Four Outgrowths of Hope That Change the Way Faith Is Practiced (Guest Post)

Image Credit: Mark Buchanan

What follows is a guest post from fellow Moltmanniac Mark French Buchanan, and originally appeared on his Facebook page (by the way, if you aren’t following his page yet, you should be!).  Mark is the author of Embraced: Many Stories, One Destiny, which I enthusiastically endorsed here. He gave me permission to republish this here in full. Enjoy!

For Moltmann, hope is the first taste of God’s life coming into the world and making itself known in every person’s suffering. Where violence, injustice and greed deprive people of life and deny them restoration, hope dawns. In the midst of pain, powerlessness and isolation the hope of God’s life is experienced first as empathy and then as expectation. Hope’s empathy draws people into God’s love and hope’s expectancy witnesses to a future free from the finality of death. Hope dawned as the Spirit raised the Son to ever new and everlasting life.
Moltmann’s theology of hope sees beyond the boundaries many pastors and theologians impose upon the Christian life. Many assume that the fulfillment of hope resides only at the close of the age, yet the hope that the life of God is bringing into the world produces outgrowths that are experienced in the present and have power to draw us into the future. These outgrowths of hope free us from old assumptions and introduce us to new ways that faith is practiced.

Four Outgrowths of Hope

  1. Through hope God comes to us. God both rises in us and draws us into himself (The Spirit of Life, 21, 127). The simple truth that in hope we do not find God, God finds us, is one of Moltmann’s great contributions. Without this guarantee, the hopeless could never look forward to the future, the suffering could never expect to be set free and the dead simply would not rise. It is by God’s initiative alone that “in the end, a new beginning lies hidden.” Hope initiates trust not in what is, but what will be. It is the eschatological edge of God’s “lifefulness” coming into our lives with others.
  2. In hope God experiences us, and nothing in our lives is lost, everything will find fulfillment (The Coming of God, 70). Moltmann recognizes that God himself ‘experiences’ all things in his own way. In this unique experience, God willingly holds every form of injustice and violence as well as every person’s suffering, sin, loss of vitality and in the end loss of life in the hope of Christ’s resurrection. In this experience hope holds open our relationship with God and “suspends’ our life in and with God until “death is swallowed up” and the work of the new creation is completed. Moltmann is confident that as God’s life overcame death in the raising of Christ to new life so it will fulfill the purposes of creation by bringing eternal life to the living and to the dead. Such assurance draws the willing into a “living hope” and introduces foretastes of eternal life into their lives in this world.
  3. In hope God “has made room” for us in himself (The Coming of God, 310). God welcomes all that we are, even our sinful selves into this new living space in him. The assurance that we are invited to abide in God and to make our home in the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit grants freedom from fear and companionship in suffering. Through yielding himself in love for the people of his creation, God created space in himself, hopeful space for the hopeless. In this space God gathers the suffering so they don’t drown in pain, the forsaken so they are companioned, the lost so they might have a way to walk, the sinful so they might be transfigured and the dead so that they might be ever new. Just as we are, God welcomes us into himself. God beckons both victims and perpetrators into a community of justice and love which in time will set victims free from the hurts they suffered and perpetrators free from the guilt of their wrongdoing. All who are drawn into the new living space of God will discover an unexpected freedom to love others in the same way they have been loved.
  4. In hope we become both a “Me” and a “We” (The Coming of God, 301). At once we have two identities. We are both a “Me”, a distinct child of God, and a “We”, a member of the one community of God. This way of being introduces hope-filled people to a consciousness of living in, with and for other people as well as God. This “‘at once’ a ‘We’ and a ‘Me’” is the way of life that we can begin to experience in the present as foretastes of our future. Stated simply as we are drawn into the triune God, we taste the mutual love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and we extend that love on to others. Through this love we provisionally experience ourselves dwelling in a mutuality with others which is reflective of the way that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit mutually dwell with each other. Through our new shared consciousness we are given strength to suffer with others and at times to glimpse the liberation God is bringing to them.

This provides “We Partners” a new ability to indwell each other with prayer and to dwell in a fellowship with one another in which their weaknesses and limitations are surrounded by God’s life- giving love. Incrementally “We Partners” become viaducts of divine love that draw each other into the “living hope” and “living love” of God. In their fellowship of love, traces of divine life are experienced as well as foretastes of the new creation. The empathy, solidarity and vision for what God will do motivate “We Partners” to engage socially and politically in actions that protect and empower one another.

Moltmann Book Alert! “Hoffen und Denken” (Hoping and Thinking)


The great theologian of hope enjoying an “Eschaton” beer at the Homebrewed Christianity AAR event. image source: Tony Jones on Twitter
 Jürgen Moltmann may be turning 90 next April, but that hasn’t stopped our beloved theologian of hope from publishing a new book in 2014 and taking two trips to America in 2015. By all accounts he is doing  very well (I hope the above recent picture – of him celebrating the publication of the 40th Anniversary Edition of the Crucified God in Atlanta last month – attests to this!). Just recently I made a rather pessimistic comment that The Living God and the Fullness of Life may be Moltmann’s last book (in my defense, many of us thought that about Ethics of Hope!). I’m very happy to have been wrong! 

I’ve just caught wind that a new book by Jürgen Moltmann will be released in German in 2016 just in time for his 90th birthday. It’s title: “Hoffen und Denken: Beiträge zum ökologischen Umbau der christlichen Theologie,” which  translates roughly to Hoping and Thinking: Contributions for the Greening of Christian Theology (via Google Translate).  

Below I’m including the publisher’s description roughly translated to English. Again, I don’t (yet) read German so I’m trusting Google Translate for the basic meaning for now (I’ve only slightly cleaned it up for flow). If you are fluent in German and English and see any obvious errors please let me know (original can be found on the publisher’s website here). 

I gather from this that the new book is a combination of new and old content from Moltmann along the lines of ecological theology, a subjext very near to his heart. I’ll be on the lookout for details of an English release of this title and will keep you advised! 

Publisher’s description:

In this book, important contributions of the great theologian Jürgen Moltmann (90 years old on 8 April 2016th) are combined.The title “Hope and thinking” draws attention to the transforming power of the prophetic and apostolic hopes.
The first part is about the ecological “revolution” of theology: What can they contribute to a good future for the Earth and the survival of humanity? What needs to be formulated a doctrine of creation, which is based on the Bible and the global challenges withstand?
The second part contains essays on fundamental themes of theology, such as “hope and thinking” or “The Triune God”.
In the third part Jürgen Moltmann portrays a selection of contemporaries (including Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ernst Bloch, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Helmut Gollwitzer and Dorothee Sölle). He makes it clear that no one is a theologian alone, but each is in a community of theologians through the ages in a simultaneity with all other thinking.

The book offers an exciting range of Jürgen Moltmann’s partly still unpublished texts which are committed to the program of ecological restructuring of theology towards a more comprehensive understanding of creation and redemption.

Moltmann on Christmas Joy

Duccio di Buoninsegna – The Nativity between Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel (Image Source, Wikimedia Commons)

In his new book, The Living God and the Fullness of Life, Moltmann argues that the Christian festivals (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost) exemplify Christianity as a religion of joy. This was also a theme in Moltmann’s conversation with Miroslav Volf last year, and in his essay over on the Yale Theology of Joy website (sidebar: this same essay appears to also be included in the new book, Joy and Human Flourishing – check it out!).

I thought this short section on Christmas would be very appropriate for reflection this season. I’ll visit this part of the book again with his statements about Easter and Pentecost during the appropriate times. Enjoy! Continue reading Moltmann on Christmas Joy

Top 10 Moltmanniac Posts of 2015

Note: Like last time I shared top posts (in mid-2014), the one on Moltmann and gay marriage is still the most popular, by a pretty wide margin (so apparently to get more traffic I just need to blog more about controversies and/or sex!). In addition to that, a few of last year’s Crucified God posts have had enough ongoing popularity to make this list; however, to keep it limited to the popular new content, I’m only including posts that were actually posted in 2015. Enjoy! 

  1. Thomas F. Torrance Audio Lectures. I know it ain’t Moltmann, but a lot of people found this treasure trove of free audio to be useful, and kept coming back to it. If you haven’t already done so, check it out!
  2. My Top 10 Favorite Jürgen Moltmann Quotes. A collection of short quotes that will make you love Moltmann!
  3. Predestination: Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Election (Moltmann’s Lecture at KBC2015 including Audio, Video, and Detailed Notes). Being at Princeton for Moltmann’s lecture and getting to meet him that day was one of the highlights of the year for me.
  4. 2015 Karl Barth Conference Video. Links to all of Plenary lecture videos! Moltmann’s lecture wasn’t the only outstanding talk at Barth Camp!
  5. Jürgen Moltmann Shares about His Friendship with Kelly Gissendaner.
  6. Christ is not against the Muslims. He died for them.
  7. Jürgen Moltmann 1979 Warfield Lectures on the Trinity (Audio). The famous lectures that formed the basis of The Trinity and the Kingdom.
  8. 3 Reasons Martin Luther King Jr May be America’s Most Outstanding Theologian. Read what the great liberation theologian James Cone has to say about MLK!
  9. Jürgen Moltmann on the Death Penalty. Hint: He’s against it. Don’t forget to also check out part two!
  10. Amazing Deals on Moltmann Kindle Books. This was posted in October but the sale is still ongoing until January 5, 2016!


Christ is not against the Muslims. He died for them.

Christ is not against the Muslims. He died for them.” This was perhaps the most profound and timely statement from Moltmann during the live Homebrewed Christianity podcast interview at AAR in Atlanta on November 20th (the audio is now available to listen to online here).  With all of the recent heated headlines about terrorism and Muslims (and the various responses from political and religious leaders), I thought now would be a good time to share this quote along with its extended context. 

In the interview, Tony Jones had just remarked that The Crucified God seems to bring together the best of the two basic types of atonement theories, i.e., the objective (something happens with God) and subjective  (something happens with us). 

Moltmann added that something also happens “with the others,” and explained: 

I remember it was a special hour in the German Parliament during the Cold War when a famous Protestant Minister, Gustav Heinemann, stood up and made a speech, and he was saying “Christ is not against the communists!” And the Christians protested against him. And he continued, “He died for them.” And there was silence in the parliament.
And so today we should say, ‘Christ is not against the Muslims. He died for them.” And we should accept Muslims as persons for whom Christ died. This is not to accept the Islam and the Koran etc… But meet the person with respect as a potential sister and brother of Christ.

You can listen to the audio of this exchange starting around the 37 minute mark over at Homebrewed Christianity. One of Moltmann’s most famous students, Miroslav Volf (who has written an excellent book on Islam), tweeted a similar sentiment about loving Muslims this morning, seemingly in response to the recent news that a Wheaton professor has been suspended for claiming that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Not long ago I read Volf’s book, Allah: A Christian Response (which in part makes a case for this claim), and I plan to share some helpful insights from it here in the near future.