An Introduction to Ecclesiology Part III
I want to take a few posts to do a summary of Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen’s book An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Ecumenical, Historical and Global Perspectives. The first post dealt with Ecclesiological Traditions, and the second post with Leading Contemporary Ecclesiologist. This final post is part three and it will deal with contextual ecclesiologies as well as some concluding comments I have about the book.
Part III Contextual Ecclesiologies
Chapter 15: The Non-Church Movement in Asia founded by Uchimura from Japan is anti-institutional, emphasizing gospel by faith alone and priesthood of all.
Chapter 16: The Church from below in Latin America lead by Leonardo Boff champions freedom and liberation. It is a grassroots movement of the poor.
Chapter 17: The Feminist Church is shaped by various women and influenced by liberation theology. Leadership in the round and ecofeminism are strong values.
Chapter 18: African Independent Churches are local and autonomous. There is a strong emphasis on communal living as well as the Holy Spirit who is savior, healer, protector, bringer of justice, liberation and inspires caring for the earth.
Chapter 19: The Shepherding Movement was founded many including Bob Mumford. With a heart for discipleship in all of life, it became spiritually abusive.
Chapter 20: The World Church advocated by Vincent Donavan is a church for all people and all creation. Sacraments relate more to the world than inner-church.
Chapter 21: The Post-Christian Church advocated by Barry Harvey sees the church as “another city.” He calls the church to a holy madness for the world’s sake.
I appreciated getting a wide-angle view of ecclesiology. I was familiar with the basic traditions and all of the contemporary ecclesiologists, aside from Zizioulas. I was familiar with the contextual ecclesiologies, aside from the non-church movement. I found the material helpful in thinking through the various issues that every church needs to consider and address. Some of those include the marks of the church, the essence of the church, the metaphors of the church and the functions of the church. Churches need to consider their view on sacraments, structure, leadership, ecumenicalism, the priesthood of all believers and how the Trinity informs our ecclesiology. I appreciated reviewing ecclesiology through the traditions, current ecclesiologists as well as the contextual ecclesiologies.
After reading this book, I was inspired to read some more books by Hans Küng, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jürgen Moltmann, John Zizioulas, Vincent Donovan, Leonardo Boff and Barry Harvey. I had already given a lot of thought to marks of a church, primary metaphors and functions of a church. I have also given much thought lately to leadership, structure and how the Trinity ought to inform our ecclesiology. Besides wetting my appetite for more reading in ecclesiology, this book caused me to want to clarify my thoughts on the sacraments and how the Holy Spirit informs structure. This book will inform my current writing on Re-Sketching the Church (introductory chapters found here entitled Equipping Overview Booklet) and help me to consider what the church might look like in the future in light of her past.