Saturday, July 22, 2006


By Veli-Matti Karkkainen
Intervarsity Press © 2002, 238 pages (Names Index, Topical Index)

I read this in 2004. I left my reading of the book with an important realization: “the church is simpler, more complicated, more universal, and more local that we can imagine.”

This assessment remains.

This time out, I have gathered some readings and notions for my upcoming thesis.

Reading List

  • C.N. Tsirpanlis, Introduction to Eastern Patristic Thought and Orthodox Theology (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991)
  • Karl Rahner, The Dynamic Element in the Church (New York: Herder and Herder, 1964)
  • John Zizioulas, Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985)
  • Hans Kung, The Church (1967; reprint, New York: Image Books, 1976)
  • Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s, 1998)
  • Jurgen Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit (London, SCM Press, 1977)
  • Miroslav Volf, After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s, 1998)
  • James Wm. McClendon, Jr., Doctrine: Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994)
  • James Wm. McClendon, Jr., Biography as Theology: How Life Stories Can Remake Today’s Theology (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1990 [orig. 1974])
  • Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church (London, SCM Press, 1953)

Notions for Further Investigation

  • Essential characteristics of the church, 14

Orthodox Ecclesiology
  • Church as the image of the Trinity, 19
  • The relation of unity and diversity to catholicity, 24

Roman Catholic Ecclesiology
  • Church as a pilgrim people, 28
  • Sacraments as mediators of the communion life of God, 31

Lutheran Ecclesiology
  • Church as simultaneously just and sinful, 41
  • Church as a place where believers exercise God-like love, 46

Reformed Ecclesiology
  • Church as having two parts, one visible to God and the other visible to humanity, 52

Free Church Ecclesiology
  • Church as the gathering of those who have direct and immediate access to God, 65
  • Necessity of holy living, 67

Pentecostal/Charismatic Ecclesiology
  • Necessity of experiencing God mystically and supernaturally, 70
  • Prophethood of all believers, 72
  • Ecclesiology as lived reality, 73

Ecumenical Ecclesiology
  • Unity as God-given, mandatory behavior, 79
  • Koinonia-ecclesiology, 86
  • Acceptable definitions of apostolicity and catholicity, 90

Ecclesiology of Zizioulas
  • Church as the image of God’s communal personhood, 96

Ecclesiology of Kung
  • Need to change forms as the culture changes, 104
  • Relation between the Holy Spirit and the flexibility and freedom of the church, 108

Ecclesiology of Pannenberg
  • Church as the sign of the unity of all humanity, 115
  • “Body of Christ” as Christological and “fellowship of believers” as pneumatological

Ecclesiology of Moltmann
  • Eschatological ecclesiology, 127
  • Church as communion of equals, 128
  • Mission to spread the kingdom not the church, 130

Ecclesiology of Volf
  • Church as those gathered in Jesus’ name, 136
  • Participatory ecclesiology, 140

Ecclesiology of McClendon
  • Doctrine of the practice of the whole people, 143
  • Importance of the local gathering, 144
  • Denial of the lay-clergy distinction, 149

Ecclesiology of Newbigin
  • Church as missionary people, 152

NOTE: This is a rumination ("1. The act of pondering; meditation. 2. The act or process of chewing cud." American Heritage Dictionary) in search of synergy ("1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.")


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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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