Opening Plenary: Sovereign God & Sovereign Nations--Truth & Difference

April 7, 2014
DePaul University

Lamin Sanneh
D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity
Yale Divinity School

Whether scattered or gathered, communities of faith beyond the West today confront challenges & opportunities that are particular to the post-Western phase of the worldwide Christian movement. Just as new nations were coming into existence with faltering steps, new communities of faith were also emerging with contrasting energy & momentum, creating the double challenge of membership in the religious community & membership in the national community. The duties of religion intersect with the demands of nationality, making obedience to God an obligation simultaneous with loyalty to the nation. While Catholic social teaching addresses this dual obligation from the point of view of normative values, it has not done so to the same extent from the point of view of emerging post-Western societies where fragile political institutions & resurgent communities of faith have converged, and often collided, with people of faith bearing personal responsibility for this dual heritage. The lecture uses the framework of dual citizenship & dual heritage to explore truth & difference and their combined significance for personal life & the civic order.

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