The Church Event: Call and Challenge of a Church Protestant

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-10-09
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Pub
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Often nowadays one hears affirmations of spirituality and even religious life but rarely of institutional religion. Is the church dying? Noted theologian Vítor Westhelle urges an emphatic no and traces the church crisis to an ¿ecclesiological deficit,¿ a lack of serious reflection on the real role of church as an ideal community and an institutional reality. He finds real consensus among the Reformers on what church should mean, and he traces the competing historical notions of church, their relations to the sources of Protestant religious conviction, and the gradual erosion of a sense for what it is the church actually ¿represents.¿ Westhelle advances a new model of church, grounded in Trinitarian thought, social anthropology, and biblical reflection. He then shows how this notion of church well positions Christian communities to deal with the public sphere, religious pluralism, globalization, and communal prayer. In doing so, Westhelle claims a space for Protestant Christianity in today¿s world.

Author Biography

Vtor Westhelle is Professor of Systematic Theology at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. A prolific writer, he is author of several books, including The Scandalous God: The Use and Abuse of the Cross (Fortress Press, 2006), and coeditor of several others.

Table of Contents

Abbreviationsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Church Profiles and the So-Called Ecclesiological Deficit of Protestantismp. 11
On the Church Ecumenicalp. 11
The New Challenges to the Church in World Christianityp. 17
Profiles of Church and Ministryp. 20
In Defense of a Church Protestantp. 27
The Representative: an Unexamined Questionp. 31
The Church between Economics and Politicsp. 36
The Church's Tempting Vicinitiesp. 41
Meanings of Tradition: Give and Takep. 47
Whose Tradition? Whose Treason?p. 47
The Open Canon and the Enclosed Silencep. 49
Irenaeus and Apostolic Successionp. 52
The Reaction of the Reformersp. 53
Give and Takep. 54
Functions That Divide the Churchp. 56
On the Authority of the Scriptures: More Than Enoughp. 59
Sola Scriptura: The Negative Principlep. 62
Scripture as Interpreter Itself: The Positive Principlep. 63
More than Enough: Rhetoric and Dialecticsp. 65
The Universal Word Speaks Dialectp. 66
The Rule of Grammarp. 68
The Proper Uses of the Lawp. 70
Antinomianism?p. 73
Church and Trinity: the Promise and Limits of an Analogical Reasoningp. 75
A Western Readingp. 79
Trinity: A Contextual Second-Order Discoursep. 80
Luther and the Material Criterionp. 84
Tying Ends Togetherp. 87
KoinŌnia: Between the Idol of the House and the Demons of the Streetp. 89
The House and the Streetp. 89
Captivities: The Idol and the Demonsp. 94
The Idolp. 95
The Demonp. 98
Criteria for Discerningp. 103
Ecclesial Ends: on the Relation of Church and Societyp. 107
Church and Societyp. 107
Crises in the Church and Societyp. 112
The Theological Loss of the Saeculump. 113
The Ends of the Worldp. 116
In Crisis, There the Church Isp. 118
A Copernican Revolutionp. 120
At Ease: Ecclesial Adjacenciesp. 125
The Church and the Kingdomp. 125
Adjacencyp. 129
Zacchaeus: A Meditation on Adjacencyp. 129
At Ease: Peace Be with Youp. 132
Chrysostomp. 134
The Place of the Churchp. 137
Tapestry: A Metaphorp. 137
Metabolism: Space as Gift and Taskp. 139
The Spectrum of Spatial Experiences: Banquet Rooms and Desertsp. 140
Types of Space: Locales and Placesp. 141
Hybrid Spaces: Thin and Thickp. 143
The Church as Epiphanic Spacep. 147
Envisioningp. 152
Church Happening: Speaking the Truth and Liberationp. 155
Speaking the Truthp. 155
Freeing the Captivesp. 163
Eventp. 165
In the Offingp. 168
Acknowledgmentsp. 169
Indexp. 171
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