Fortress Press

So That All May Flourish: The Aims of Lutheran Higher Education

So That All May Flourish

The Aims of Lutheran Higher Education

Marcia J. Bunge (Editor), Jason A. Mahn (Editor), Martha E. Stortz (Editor)


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So That All May Flourish provides a substantive and accessible introduction to the vocation, educational priorities, and theological foundations of Lutheran Higher Education (LHE) and the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU). Intended as a "primer," the book seeks to cultivate knowledge of LHE and NECU that is both appreciative, critical, and constructive. The book includes 16 chapters across three important organizing sections: Core Commitments, Distinctive Strengths, and Contemporary Callings.

Each chapter is written by scholars from various NECU institutions and highlights a distinctive educational priority, explores its theological groundings, and offers examples of how it is embodied in a variety of distinctive ways on different NECU campuses. The result is a rich tour of Lutheran higher education as a site for important formative work. The book also includes a short preface, forward, and epilogue.

Written by a veritable who's who of Lutheran higher education, this volume is a must read for everyone concerned about the work being done on Lutheran campuses.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506480893
  • eBook ISBN 9781506480909
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 260
  • Publication Date January 24, 2023


"This is an essential read for anyone who wonders about the value of Lutheran higher education in the 21st century. The selections offer a necessary combination of descriptive, prescriptive, and critical analysis to the field that each author tills as an educator or administrator. The goal of the book, which is one and the same with the goal of Lutheran higher education, is summed in the title: that all may flourish. Not just Lutherans, or just Christians, or even just people, but that all creatures may thrive. Toward such a lofty goal, each contributor delivers a deep, timely, and sacred reflection."

Drew Tucker, university pastor and director of the Center for Faith and Learning, Capital University

"This book shows, more clearly than any other document, why and how the Lutheran tradition with its special vocabulary of vocation and neighbor-love, its commitment to musical intelligence, its integral connection from the beginning to free and open inquiry, and its care for creation, has been so specially impressive in strengthening higher education amid all the opportunities that pluralism and diversity offer to colleges and universities today. In many respects the NECU schools celebrated here are more like their Roman Catholic counterparts than they are like other Protestant schools; they are indeed 'rooted and open.'"

Mark R. Schwehn, professor of humanities, Christ College; project director, Lilly Fellows Program, Valparaiso University

"As a long-time president of one of our NECU institutions, I firmly believe that our Lutheran intellectual and theological traditions provide a durable foundation for higher education in the 21st century. Our 'third way,' between sectarian and secular extremes, offers our students and faculty an education that is rooted and open, faithful and relevant. In this important volume, some of our leading scholars plumb the depths of our Lutheran tradition to offer us a roadmap to that education, exploring its theological roots, its curricular and pedagogical priorities, and its relevance for some of our most pressing social issues. I commend this volume to all of us who care deeply about the future of Lutheran higher education in the 21st century."

Paul C. Pribbenow, president, Augsburg University

"So That All May Flourish is both the title of this book and the telos of all Lutheran higher education. Fifteen authors, each of them teachers as well as scholars, eschew today's binary of education as public good or private benefit in favor of embracing the core commitments, signature strengths, and contemporary callings that make education of the whole person for the sake of the whole world possible. Lutheran institutions of higher education engage today's issues and explore tomorrow's methods because they are Lutheran, which is to say: always reforming, ever widening access, steadfast in love of neighbor. Every vocation of every neighbor is needed so that all may flourish."

Colleen Windham-Hughes, professor of religion and Wilbert & Darlene Carlson Endowed Chair in Youth & Family Ministry, California Lutheran University

"Call them the Lutheran Brain Trust: these fifteen contributors represent some of the finest theological thinking and cultural reflection on Lutheran higher education today. Each one of them is also a skilled practitioner of the pedagogies and perspectives that they describe. Their reflections on the inheritance, challenges, and opportunities at Lutheran colleges and universities are essential reading--not only within the denomination, but for everyone working to help independent higher education fulfill its promising future."

David S. Cunningham, professor of theology, Aquinas College; director, Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE)