Fortress Press

Liberating Luther: A Lutheran Theology from Latin America

Until his untimely death in 2018, Vitor Westhelle's incisive and probing thought on the church, Luther, and theology shaped a generation. As a continuation of that rich legacy, presented here for the first time in English, is a collection of Westhelle's finest Portuguese-language essays.

As a dedicated theologian of the cross, he was committed to saying things as they are, and that meant fearlessly cutting to the heart of complex matters. In this collection, Westhelle addresses important issues such as the cross of Jesus and its relation to death today; the difficulty (even impossibility) of human communication; the ecological crisis as a fundamentally religious problem; the ecumenical movement and its complicity with class interests; the church's misuse of mission and power; Lutheranism's misunderstanding of Lutherᅡs law-gospel dialectic; and the role of European theology in making the conquest of the Americas such a disaster.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506469621
  • eBook ISBN 9781506469638
  • Dimensions 6 X 9
  • Pages 238
  • Publication Date April 27, 2021


"The translation of these early essays by Vitor Westhelle, originally published in Portuguese, offers to the English-speaking reader several entry points to the genealogy of the classic themes that came to characterize this monumental theologian. Here we see the alchemy between the pressing issues faced by Latin America in the 70's and 80's, and a splendid liberationist and Lutheran theological approach. Westhelle shows that true praxis always involves a deep intellectual engagement with our times, yet not devoid of a playful and poetic undercurrent. It is this combination between seriousness and play, depth and levity, eschatology and history, that keeps captivating all those who have been touched by Westhelle's magical wand. This book is no exception, since it is a unique portrait of the early brilliance of one of the most prominent Lutheran theologians in recent times. May it inspire a new generation of theological scholars seeking breadth and depth in these convoluted late modern times."

Dr. Guillermo Hansen, Luther Seminary

"In this book, a true theologian of the cross achieves unique connectivity between space, time, and words: surprising, revealing, provoking. This collection forms an important part of the legacy of one of the most brilliant theologians of our time."

Antje Jackelén, Archbishop, Church of Sweden