Church and Gospel according to Wolfhart Pannenberg

Church and Gospel according to Wolfhart Pannenberg January 22, 2019

I just came across this great quote from Wolfhart Pannenberg’s Systematic Theology, 2:462-3.

The fellowship of the church that the gospel establishes is thus a sign and a provisional form of the humanity that is reconciled in the kingdom of God – the humanity that is the goal of the event of reconciliation in the expiatory death of Jesus Christ. The gospel thus takes precedence over the church. Over against the church, it represents the authority of Jesus Christ, the church’s Lord and Head. Though the gospel is proclaimed in the church and by is office bearers, it is not a product of the church; rather, the gospel is the source of the church’s existence. This is not just because the church is founded on the gospel of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ but even more clearly because the apostolic gospel has its origin in the good news of Jesus himself concerning the imminence and dawning of the salvation of God’s reign. The proclamation of the gospel, then, is not merely one thing among others in the church’s life. It is the basis of the church’s life. The church is a creature of the Word.



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