Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bonhoeffer's Sanctorum Communio

Halden discusses the "best Protestant ecclesiology" over at Inhabitatio Dei. Can't do much but agree wholedheartedly and lament my lack of time to reread Sanctorum Communio. Especially with the glut of ecclesiological work being done today- good, bad, and truly ugly- Halden's post has me thinking about what sort of Protestant work is in line to follow in Bonhoeffer's footsteps. Since Lumen Gentium we have seen some really great stuff coming from Roman Catholic theologians. I don't know if the same can be said regarding Protestantism... John Webster's essays in Word and Church come to mind as an exception. Often, even what is good in Protestantism is greatly indebted to Catholic or Orthodox thought these days (not that that's a bad thing, but it does demonstrate a lack in our own tradition).

Here's a link to Sanctorum Communio at Fortress Press- anyone who doesn't own it needs to get over there and remedy the situation. It's currently 20% off, so you have no excuse.

6 comments:

  1. Evan another superb contribution to ecclesiology in recent years is Miroslav Volf's After Our Likeness. It is perhaps the best free church ecclesiology I've ever encountered.

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  2. I have some issues with Volf, right down to the variety of trinitarian doctrine that informs his ecclesiology. But I do agree that this is a notable work. I'm not as familiar with the free church tradition, but I have noticed a number of new Baptist works out that seem to signal a renaissance of sorts. Volf also falls in line with the fact that much of what is helpful in Protestant ecclesiology lately has been informed by Catholic or Orthodox thought.

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  3. Well, he does have the social trintarianism going on, but he is more nuanced and precise than just about anyone else who comes from that perspective. And, I think his constructive work on the ecclesality of the church is very good.

    Personally, I think what really distinguishes Volf is not that he draws from Catholic and Orthodox ecclesiologies, but rather how able of a dialogue partner he is for them and how he is able to roundly critique them on multiple levels.

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  4. I share your lament. But don't overlook our Reformed friend John Williamson Nevin. See D.G. Hart's High Church Calvinist for more.

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  5. Ah yes! I know of him but, sad to say, haven't read anything of him. Except perhaps a translation he did... I believe he worked with Schaff on the Church Fathers? Thanks for mentioning him, I'll be sure to check him out.

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  6. Indeed, he and Schaff led the charge against both revivalism and rationalism at Mercersburg Seminary (though I'm not sure what role if any Nevin played in Schaff's work on the history of the church). See also this link.

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