“The Church”

From Dorothee Soelle, Christ the Representative, pg. 112:

The practical importance of the question whether Christ is to be understood as final or provisional becomes clear when we consider the Church’s empirical life and its possible form. In fact, for the Church’s understanding of itself, everything depends on whether it recognizes the provisionality of Christ. If Christ provisionally represents us before God, this means that the company of believers must also take responsibility for someone before God. For the Church, this someone can only be the world, which the Church represents before God. It does so provisionally, conditionally, and for the time being. The Church is not a substitute with which God consoles himself for the loss of a world slipping from his grasp. On the contrary, where the Church really exists, God is assured of what is still future. The Church encourages God so far as the world is concerned, so that He does not give it up for lost but continues to count upon it. The Church exists wherever it emerges as the world’s champion, not as its accuser; as its true spokesman, not as its denigrator. It accordingly knows and promotes the interests of its client. It effaces itself in everything which the world itself has meanwhile learned to understand and put into practice–in certain social tasks, for instance. The Church can conceive a world in which it has itself become superfluous. The Church of the provisional Christ does not constantly need reassurance and confirmation — “Deliver us, guard thy flock, help us.” Rather, the Church is open towards the God who becomes identical with Himself in the world.

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8 Responses to ““The Church””

  1. Adam Kotsko Says:

    That last line could be paraphrased as “God finds his identity only in relation to the world” — a sentiment that sounds really heretical, but is actually pretty Christian as far as I can tell. It’s not just Hegel who says things like that — it’s also Irenaeus, for example.

  2. Jeremy Says:

    Adam,

    So I just read this book, and I have to say that it was incredible. Her understanding of the death of God, and Christ as his representation was truly. Also her understanding as Christ as teacher who co-suffers with those who he punishes was rather interesting as well. I was wondering if this work was part of your dissertation?

  3. Jeremy Says:

    Adam,

    So I just read this book, and I have to say that it was incredible. Her understanding of the death of God, and Christ as his representation was truly. Also her understanding as Christ as teacher who co-suffers with those who he punishes was rather interesting as well. I was wondering if this work was part of your dissertation?

  4. Adam Kotsko Says:

    It was indeed a part of my dissertation, the last work laying the foundation for my final “constructive” chapter.

  5. Jeremy Says:

    Any news on the publication process?

  6. Adam Kotsko Says:

    No news currently.

    I am really glad to have influenced someone to read this book. It makes me feel like this blog is worthwhile.

  7. Jeremy Says:

    Probably the best book on theology I’ve read in a long time, honestly. I remember you talked about reading Pannenberg’s Theology & Anthropology book, did you ever read his Jesus: God and Man? It was another tour de force, but this time through Christology.

  8. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I shall have to check it out.


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