Saturday, July 22, 2006

by Veli-Matti Karkkainen
pub. Intervarsity Press, (C) 2002, 238 pages

Update: reread in July 2006, see GLEANINGS FROM KARKKAINEN


In this book, Karkkainen surveys seven ecclesiological traditions, seven contemporary ecclesiologists, and seven contextual ecclesiologies. Part one covers the ecclesiological traditions: orthodox, roman catholic, Lutheran, reformed, Free Church, Pentecostal/charismatic, and ecumenical. Part two covers John Zizioulas, Hans Kung, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jurgen Moltmann, Miroslav Volf, James McClendon Jr., and Lesslie Newbigen. Finally, part two covers the non-church movement in Asia the base ecclesial movement in Latin America, the feminist church, the African Independent Church, the Shepherding movement, the world church, and the post-Christian church.

Needless to say, the book covers a world in its 238 pages. Given this it is an especially profitable book for anyone who has concentrated on their own tradition's view of church. I leave my reading of this book with a most important notion: the church is simpler, more complicated, more universal, and more local that we can imagine. Realizing that not all ecclesiologies can be right (for indeed, some notions truly are mutually exclusive), every ecclesiology can undergo important correction by listening to other voices. After all, individuals--and indeed communities can only see from their own perspectives and require other voices to see the whole picture. Karkkainen provides an excellent introduction to the world of the various voices.


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