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.
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.
"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
FRAMING UNITY OF THE CHURCH AS A THEOLOGICAL PROBLEM
1. Communion - Responding to God’s Gift ... 19
2. Church Unity, Territorialism, and State Formation in the Era of Confessionalisation ... 33
3. Parallel Coexistence of Churches. The Church in Transylvania: Its Unity and Disunity - A Contextualized Example ... 43
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
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
7. A Biblical Theological Hermeneutics, the Pure Preaching of the Word of God, and the Unity of the Church ... 105
8. The Medium and the Message - Sola Scriptura and (Dis)unity in the Reformed Tradition ... 111
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
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
ECUMENICAL EXPLORATIONS ON THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH
13. The Healing of Memories—Finding One Another Again in Christ ... 189
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
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
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
20. The Reality of the Unified Church ... 283
21. The Church as an Echo of the Triune God ... 293
22. Is the Triune God a Model for the One Church?—Reply to Christiaan Mostert ... 307
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
All those interested in theology, ecclesiology, and the unity of the church.