The Unity of the Church

A Theological State of the Art and Beyond

Series:

In contrast to its original name, Ecclesia Reformata, ecclesiology did not develop into a major theme within the Reformed tradition. Notwithstanding the undeniable schismatic tendency and the ecclesial embarrassment about disunity, the unity of the church did not rise to prominence as a theological topic. This volume challenges this traditional low-key attitude towards the unity of the church. It investigates theological aspects that contributed to a weak sensus unitatis, and explores approaches that remedy the disease of division. It discusses the role played by scripture, the sacraments, confessions, and discipline; it searches for the best theological practices within other Christian traditions; it links the unity of the church to the unity of God and reformulates the nature of the church.

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Biographical Note

Eduardus A.J.G. Van der Borght, Ph.D. (2000) in Theology., Leiden University, is Desmond Tutu Professor and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at VU University Amsterdam. He has published on theology of ministry, ecclesiology and public theology.

Review Quotes

"A welcome indication of the vibrancy of Reformed theology. [...] Those who have a care and concern for the Reformed witness to ecumenism will discover there an emerging agenda." David Cornick, Churches Together in England, and Robinson College, Cambridge. Ecclesiology 10 (2014).

Table of contents


The Unity of the Church and the Reformed Tradition - An Introduction ... 1
Eduardus Van der Borght

PART ONE
FRAMING UNITY OF THE CHURCH AS A THEOLOGICAL PROBLEM

1. Communion - Responding to God’s Gift ... 19
Lukas Vischer

2. Church Unity, Territorialism, and State Formation in the Era of Confessionalisation ... 33
Wim Janse

3. Parallel Coexistence of Churches. The Church in Transylvania: Its Unity and Disunity - A Contextualized Example ... 43
Juhász Tamás

4. “Is Christ Divided?” - An Analysis of the Theological Justification of a Church Schism ... 51
J.H. (Amie) van Wyk

5. Calvinus Oecumenicus - Calvin’s Vision of the Unity and Catholicity of the Church ... 69
I. John Hesselink

PART TWO
THE TOOLS FOR THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH—A THEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

6. One Church and the Pure Preaching of the Word - Theses and Observations on the Theme ... 97
Alasdair Heron

7. A Biblical Theological Hermeneutics, the Pure Preaching of the Word of God, and the Unity of the Church ... 105
Seung-Goo Lee

8. The Medium and the Message - Sola Scriptura and (Dis)unity in the Reformed Tradition ... 111
Dora Bernhardt

9. The Unity of the Church and the Pure Administration of the Sacraments ... 123
Lyle D. Bierma

10. Confessions as Instruments of (Dis)unity? ... 137
Dirkie Smit

11. Forms of Unity or of Disunity – The Confessions in the Recent History of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands ... 157
Henk van den Belt

12. Gospel Discipline and Church (Dis)unity in the Reformed Tradition ... 169
Alan P.F. Sell

PART THREE
ECUMENICAL EXPLORATIONS ON THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH

13. The Healing of Memories—Finding One Another Again in Christ ... 189
Jeffrey Gros

14. An Asymptotic Dialogue? A Response to Jeffrey Gros ... 211
Leo J. Koffeman

15. Ecumenical Theology and the Unity of the Church - A Reformed Understanding of Ecumenical Engagement and the Unity of the Church ... 223
Setri Nyomi

16. ‘No Popery’: A Blessing or a Curse? Ministry as an Instrument of Unity within the Reformed Tradition ... 231
Eduardus Van der Borght

17. Office as an Instrument of Unity ... 243
Allan Janssen

PART FOUR
THE THEOLOGICAL BASIS FOR THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH

18. One God and One Church – Considerations on the Unity of the Church from the Perspective of Biblical Theology ... 249
Abraham van de Beek

19. One Savior, One Church - Reconciliation as Justification and “New Creation” ... 267
Philippe Theron

20. The Reality of the Unified Church ... 283
Annette Mosher

21. The Church as an Echo of the Triune God ... 293
Christiaan Mostert

22. Is the Triune God a Model for the One Church?—Reply to Christiaan Mostert ... 307
Paul Wells

23. Trinitarian Ecclesiology and the Search for Unity—A Reformed Reading of Miroslav Volf ... 313
Gijsbert van den Brink

24. The Church as Sacrament ... 327
Martien E. Brinkman

List of Contributors ... 345
Index ... 349

Readership

All those interested in theology, ecclesiology, and the unity of the church.

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