Anders Göranzon – What happened last night in Sweden? To preach without fear in a Scandinavian Folk Church, in a situation when populist nationalism rises in the context of migration

In: Int Journal of Homiletics, volume 4 (2019) 04 Jan 2020

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This article focuses on the situation in the Church of Sweden, one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world. The links between the state and the church in Sweden were only recently cut. Political parties still engage with church policy and form the majority of the Church Assembly as well as many local Church councils. When nationalistic parties also are involved in church policy this becomes a challenge. Homiletics is taught at the Church of Sweden Institute for Pastoral Education as part of the final, ministerial year. At the Institute we make use of North American literature by authors like Brueggemann, Lose, Tubbs Tisdale and Troeger. There are many differences between the Scandinavian and the North American contexts. This paper seeks to investigate how homiletical training in one context is carried out with the use of textbooks from another, different context. How can homiletics based on North American theologies fit into a Folk Church context? How does a North American homiletic approach encourage Swedish students to preach a prophetic word of God, without fear, in a situation when populist nationalism rises in the context of migration? How can prophetic preaching, as described by for instance Brueggemann and Tisdale, be contextualised in this situation? This article discusses when and how prophetic preaching inspired from the Biblical example, with its narratives and with metaphors and poetic language, should be used and when a more confrontational, head-on witness is needed.