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Martien Brinkman

Abstract

One of the most promising aspects of the text of the third phase of the International Roman-Catholic-Reformed Dialogue might be the suggestion to reflect upon the idea of the church as 'sacrament of the kingdom' (no.231). In this contribution, I shall take up that suggestion and develop a fourfold approach of the sacraments in which the interconnectedness of church and kingdom plays a crucial role. I shall deal with the soteriological, the ecclesiological, the eschatological and the symbolic aspect respectively. Deliberately, I begin with the soteriological aspect because the first and main thing sacraments do is to point to our salvation. Salvation implies, however, a mediation of salvation and hence the ecclesiological aspect follows the soteriological aspect. The mediation of the church always points beyond itself to the kingdom of God. That is the eschatological aspect. And every reference to the eschaton always has the form of the symbol as the focal point of the 'already' and 'not yet' character of the kingdom of God. We label that as the symbolic aspect. My conclusion will be that the fruitfulness of the suggestion to speak about the church as 'sacrament of the kingdom' depends on the preparedness to reap the results of the ecumenical discussions since Vatican II.

Martien Brinkman

Abstract

In this contribution, I emphasize the potential public—and here that means 'societal'—impact of one of the main sacraments of the church; namely, the sacrament of baptism. I shall focus especially on the ethical implications of the sacrament of baptism as a sacrament that marks the transition to a new way of life. The thesis to be elaborated is that the sacrament of baptism, including its doctrine of original sin and its expectation of the kingdom of God, comprises the indispensable framework of a sound public theology understood as a theology of societal renewal.

Martien Brinkman

This article deals with the new meanings contributed to Jesus in new contexts. It questions how Jesus can be brought 'at home' in an African or Asian context. In particular, the methodological aspects of this question are objects of research. First, following a description of the complex relationship between culture-religion and the importance of the southern hemisphere as the center of world Christianity, the inculturation process in the New Testament times is analyzed. Second, the notion of the 'remembered Jesus' is applied to the inculturation process in the New Testament and to the constitutive period of the early church. Third, a threefold criterion to assess contextual Jesus-interpretations is articulated and related to the idea of

double transformation

as main characteristic of an adequate inculturation process. Fourth, the question is asked whether we can speak of an 'unknown, hidden Jesus' in Asia and Africa.

Series:

Martien Brinkman

In A Reformed Voice in the Ecumemenical Discussion Martien E. Brinkman offers a critical account of the main international ecumenical developments of the last three decades. He delivers a sketch of the Reformed contribution to the ecumenical dialogues dealing with issues like contextuality, state-church relations, the ethical implications of baptism, the church as sacrament of the kingdom and apostolic tradition.

He pleas for a stronger non-Western input in the ecumenical discussions and emphasizes that in many contexts (Indonesia, India, China) the interreligious dialogue has become part of the inner-Christian dialogue. This study can be considered as a constructive contribution to the development of a hermeneutics of tradition and puts itself the critical question what is lost and found in translation.

Series:

Martien E. Brinkman

In early Christianity, the descent into hell was the symbol of the range of the resurrection: even the dead would be liberated from the evil powers holding them captive. Together with the phenomenon of exorcism during the baptism rite in the night of Eastern it is a clear indication of the strong awareness of the influence of evil powers upon the living and dead in the ancient church. This contribution will discuss the continuous struggle with evil for the dead and living believers. It confronts us first with our beliefs on the place of our ancestors and, second, with our own position regarding bad (evil) spirits, even after our baptism. By speaking about demons, the New Testament intends to underline the seriousness and power of the temptations to which human beings are exposed and to which they repeatedly succumb. The prayer “deliver us from (the) evil (one)” indicates that we need strength from elsewhere to be delivered from the grip of evil. Evil, then, not only has to do with a good or bad will or with a concretely good or bad deed but also with a third power which we cannot apparently denote in a different or more adequate way than by means of such words as demon, devil, Satan, etc.

Marian Papavoine and Martien Brinkman