A Guide for the PerplexedeBook - 2010
Ecclesiology dominated the twentieth-century theological scene as Christians in the pew, pulpit and classroom sought to consider the implications of new realities within the church (such as Pentecostalism and ecumenism) and outwith the church (such as secularism and religious pluralism). Much has been written, and it is difficult to navigate between breezy generalities on the one hand or arcane specificities on the other. This is, in part, a function of the very real perplexities that plague – or, as the case may be, enrich – a full-orbed understanding of the church.
This book serves as a rigorous comprehensive introduction to the doctrine of the church by taking the tack of walking readers through the internal logic of ecclesiology. Rather than simply offering a compendium of perspectives on each issue that arises, Jenson and Wilhite seek to teach and model thinking theologically, with the grain of scripture and ecclesial reflection, about the church. The overall structure is roughly systematic. Instead of a historical half followed by a constructive one, they take a broadly systematic approach that richly integrates insights, challenges and concerns from the history of the church. The chapters are peppered with excurses in which they pause to consider a particularly pertinent issue that arises from the doctrine’s development (e.g. the move from Jesus to the church, the role of the bishop) or contemporary concerns (e.g. women in ministry, the status of Christendom). While the overall tone and content of the book will articulate and invite discussion on the problematics of ecclesiology, these excurses provide ample opportunity to examine and (where appropriate) untangle ecclesiological knots.
An upper-level introduction to the Christian doctrine of the Church.>
Jenson (theology, Biola U.) and Wilhite (theology, Baylor U.) introduce readers to the doctrine of the Christian church by walking them through the logic of ecclesiology. They aim to teach and model thinking theologically about the church and integrate history with theology throughout. They address the models and metaphors used to define the church; where the church is located in regard to the classical marks attributed to it (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic); ecclesial mediation and the means of grace appointed as avenues along with the triune God gives himself to the church; and mission in relation to the mission of God to establish his kingdom on earth. They examine ascension, Pentecost, and parousia, and present discussion in each chapter on issues such as the move from Jesus to the church, schism and the rise of denominations, sacramental mediation, the question of other religions, and contemporary ecumenical questions. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)