Thoughts on “Kingdom-World-Church”

Nate Kerr has co-written a piece with Halden Doerge and Ry Siggelkow on the missionary nature of the church. It is natural that Nate would return to this question since it was such a hang-up during the hugely disappointing discussion of his book on various theology blogs — the fetish for “the church” is strong among theology bloggers, and in many cases it seemed to actively impede the understanding of a book that many of those same bloggers claimed to love more than life itself.

In general, the position advanced in the piece is what one would expect Nate to advance — a Barthian “insubstantial” ecclesiology, where the church exists for the salvation of the world rather than the world being saved through incorporation into the church as a substantial entity. I think of the Barthian church (and here one could also draw a connection to Dorothee Soelle) as a kind of avant-garde of humanity that is waiting in joyful hope for the day when it will cease to exist as such and simply be dissolved into the redeemed world, and in my forthcoming book Politics of Redemption I wind up putting forward a similar view of the Christian community.

There are plenty of responses to Nate that berate him for having an insufficiently strong ecclesiology, and those of you who are bored at work might find them to be a good way to kill an hour or two. (Executive summary: Nate needs a stronger ecclesiology.) I’d like to ask a few questions from another direction, centered on Nate’s key concept: “mission.” Read the rest of this entry »

Christ, History and Apocalyptic released in the U.S.

Christ, History and ApocalypticBack in the summer, I posted an announcement regarding my forthcoming book, Christ, History and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission.   I am pleased to announce that the book has now been released in the United States through Cascade Books, in their Theopolitical Visions series. Ben Myers has graciously posted an excerpt from chapter 5 of the book entitled “John Howard Yoder: The Singularity of Jesus and the Apocalypticization of History” on his Faith and Theology blog. Should you wish to have the book ordered for your own personal or institutional libraries, U.S. readers can now purchase the book at a web discount from the publisher here.   Outside of the U.S. the book will be released at the end of this month by SCM Press as part of its Veritas series, and can currently be ordered at a discount here.

Here are the endorsements for the book as provided by Stanley Hauerwas, Graham Ward, and Nicholas M. Healy:

“A rare gift—a critic from whom you learn. Though I do not agree with all of his criticisms of my work, Kerr—drawing imaginatively and creatively on the work of Troeltsch and Barth—has rightly framed the questions central to my and Yoder’s project. We are in his debt for having done so. In this book, Kerr not only establishes himself as one of the most able readers of my and Yoder’s work, but he is clearly a theologian in his own right. We will have much to learn from in the future.”
—Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina

“This is a timely book that traverses twentieth century theology to develop a distinctive understanding of church engagement with the world. Finely executed and acutely discerning, it opens up an ecclesiology that is neither culturally accommodating nor counter-cultural. Conceiving the church as fundamentally dispossessive and missionary, Kerr announces a genuinely apocalyptic Christian politics. This is excellent theology for the up and coming generation.”
—Graham Ward, Head of the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester

“This is a really exciting book: engaging, provocative, and—above all—constructive. Kerr seeks to reaffirm the Christian claim that Jesus Christ is the Lord of history in the face of modernity’s attempts to subsume Christ into our history. In spite of the complexity of its material, this fascinating book is so remarkably clear throughout that I found it hard to put down. It should not be ignored.”
-Nicholas M. Healy, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and Associate Dean, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. John’s University, Queens, New York

For those interested, I am also reposting the book description and table of contents in hiding.

Read the rest of this entry »

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