Witness, Democracy and Civil Society: Reflections on John Howard Yoder's Exilic Ecclesiology

In: Ecclesiology
Richard Bourne Division of Religion and Philosophy, St Martin's College, Bowerham Road, Lancaster, UK, Email:

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This article examines the compatibility between an ecclesial focus in contemporary theological ethics and an account of democratic citizenship. It focuses on the work of the Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder. It explores the use of a motif that appeared with increasing frequency in Yoder's later writings, and has yet to receive much substantial academic attention — that of exilic citizenship. It then notes parallels between this exilic ecclesiology and contemporary understandings of civil society. It concludes that an exilic reading of Christian witness provides a fruitful basis for a theology of democratic participation.

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