Moltmann's Ecclesiology

Moltmann's Ecclesiology September 17, 2010
Me and Jürgen Moltmann at the 2009 Emergent Village Theological Conversation

I’m currently working on chapter four of my dissertation, in which I will use Jürgen Moltmann’s ecclesiology in support and critique of the burgeoning and relatively underdeveloped theology in the emerging church movement.  Moltmann has actually written quite a bit about the church, but it’s an underappreciated aspect of his work, and not much has been written about it.  Moltmann experts say this is because his ecclesiological writings are too pragmatic, for one thing.  Unlike many of his German theological peers, Moltmann makes very specific proposal for the church.  For instance, he says that we should not practice infant baptism.

For another — and related to that — Moltmann is a severe critic of the church he knows best, the European state church, in which a particular version of Christianity is propped up by being linked to the national government.  This, he writes repeatedly, is nothing like the vision of the church in the Pauline writings.

Well, I’m about done with my reading for this chapter, so as I write it next week, I’ll be posting on the early Moltmann and late Moltmann.  His ecclesiology has evolved, but it’s still the same theme: Moltmann is a congregationalist.  He doesn’t like bureaucratic hierarchies and he’s not too fond of clericalism.

More to come…

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  • Patrick Oden

    Tony, what’s the specific, overall topic and title for your dissertation?

    Love the picture, by the way, but probably not as much as you do. 🙂

  • Richard H

    Sounds like he’s coming down where Barth did on infant baptism, seeing that practice as necessarily connected with the state church model.

  • Reserved my copy of Crucified God at the library the other day. Can’t wait!

  • I would love to see your bibliography on Moltmann’s ecclesiology. “The Church in the Power of the Spirit” obviously. But can you share other references?

  • Church in the Power of the Spirit was the first Moltmann book I read and I was hooked.

    And in response to Richard — yes Moltmann comes down on the baptism issue in much the same way and for the same reasons that Barth does. As a Disciple, who practices believer baptism, I have always found this support for my position affirming!

    I’m looking forward to seeing the full dissertation — and check on Bonhoeffer, for his focus as a scholar was on the church!

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