S.D. Giere

Jesus Christ & Plural Worlds

Team Taught with Prof. Winston D. Persaud and Prof. Duane A. Priebe



This course explores the place and meanings of religion for human life in our contemporary pluralistic religious and cultural worlds with a view to the questions of (1) how Christians bear effective witness to Jesus Christ in this reality and (2) the relation of justification and justice in Christ.

This is a course in fundamental theological orientation.

The objectives of the course are to begin to explore, appropriate, and articulate:

  • the decisive significance of Jesus Christ to the Christian witness
  • the contemporary reality of the pluralistic world in which the Christian witness is to be made;
  • what it means to be a human being in relation to God who is holy  and righteous;
  • the distinctive Lutheran concept of justification in light of Lutheran/Roman Catholic agreement in the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification," including the call to do justice.

On a practical level, the course:

  • to listen both critically and charitably to one another.
  • to draft a common theological document.


Course Questions (students consider and reconsider the following questions throughout the course):

If someone were to ask you to tell them about Jesus, what would you say?

How do you understand the relationship of justification and justice?

If Jesus Christ is the incarnation of the Word through whom all things were created (John 1:1-14), and Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life,” through whom alone there is salvation (John 14:6), how do you understand the relationship of non-Christians and their traditions, whether religious or not, to Jesus Christ and the salvation he brings?

In your view, what does Christianity have to say to people of other religions / no religion?


Course Resources


Syllabus - Fall 2017 (Updated 12 Sept 2017)


Video & Resource Archive - See WTS's Castle Commons




Bible, NRSV.

Shusako Endo, Silence (Wm. Johnston, trans; New York: Taplinger, 1969).

Kendra Creasy Dean, “Faith, nice and easy: The almost-Christian formation of teens,” Christian Century (10 August 2010) 22-27.

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” by the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church, 1999.

Martin Luther, “Sermon on Two Kinds of Righteousness”, (1519).

Gita Mehta, A River Sutra (New York: Vintage, 1994).

Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy (John W. Harvey, trans.; 2nd ed.; Oxford University Press, 1950).

Lamin Sanneh, Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture (2nd ed., Orbis, 2008).


Strongly Recommended

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989).



© S.D. Giere