Stanley Hauerwas has attracted much criticism for his ecclesiocentric approach to theology. As a result of his emphasis on the faithful practice of virtues in community for salvation, he has been accused of Pelagianism. He has also been charged with showing interest in Jesus primarily as an exemplar, rather than for himself. The adequacy of Hauerwas’ ecclesiology is tested here against its implications for Christology. Hauerwas conceives of Jesus primarily as the autobasileia, and emphasises the importance of his entire life and teachings in addition to his death and resurrection. Two questions concerning Hauerwas’ Christology are explored: (1) What did Christ achieve at the cross? (2) What constitutes salvation and how is it mediated to ensuing generations? This paper examines whether the church does indeed usurp the place of Christ in salvation in Hauerwas’ thought, as suggested by Healy.
Michael Hardin‘Out of the Fog: New Horizons for Atonement Theory,’ in Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christed. Brad Jersak and Michael Hardin (Grand Rapids mi: Eerdmans Publishing Co 2007) p. 76.
J. Denny Weaver‘The Nonviolent Atonement: Human Violence, Discipleship and God,’ in Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christed. Brad Jersak and Michael Hardin (Grand Rapids mi: Eerdmans Publishing Co 2007) p. 340.
Stanley Hauerwas‘Beyond the Boundaries: The Church Is Mission,’ in Walk Humbly with the Lord: Church and Mission Engaging Pluralityed. Viggo Mortensen and Andreas Østerlund Nielsen (Grand Rapids mi: Eerdmans Publishing Co 2010) p. 53; Cf. John Howard Yoder The Royal Priesthood: Essays Ecclesiological and Ecumenical ed. Michael Cartwright (Grand Rapids mi: Eerdmans Publishing Co 1994) p. 91.
Stanley Hauerwas‘Why There Is No Salvation Outside the Church,’ in After Christendom: How the Church Is to Behave If Freedom Justice and a Christian Nation are Bad Ideas(Nashville tn: Abingdon Press 1991) pp. 23–44 35.
Nigel BiggarBehaving in Public: How to Do Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co2011) p. 95. Stout brings a similar charge arguing that Hauerwas’ antiliberalism ‘leaves the world outside the modern church in a doubly darkened condition’ (Jeffrey Stout Democracy and Tradition (Princeton pa: Princeton University press 2004) p. 154). Stackhouse points out that Hauerwas’ understanding of the church-world divide prevents him from having anything positive to say about secular human rights movements although these endeavours are surely assisting to establish the kingdom (Max Stackhouse ‘Liberalism Dispatched vs. Liberalism Engaged’ in Shaping Public Theology: Selections from the Writings of Max L. Stackhouse ed. Hak Joon Lee Scott R. Paeth E. Harold Breitenberg Jnr (Grand Rapid mi: Eerdmans Publishing Co 2014) p. 88).