The Transformative Church

The Transformative Church: New Ecclesial Models and the Theology of Jurgen Moltmann

Patrick Oden
Copyright Date: 2015
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  • Book Info
    The Transformative Church
    Book Description:

    Throughout the course of his theological career, Jürgen Moltmann has been interested in the ecclesial and societal consequences of systematic theology. From his first major work, Theology of Hope, to his book Experiences in Theology, he has devoted substantive space to what each particular doctrine means for our life in this world, as individuals and as a community. The Transformative Church explores these concerns more deeply, looking at each of his major texts and highlighting themes relevant for a transformative ecclesiology. These themes are augmented by adding the perspectives of a contemporary church movement that reflects, in its practices, many of the same concerns. With these conversation partners, Patrick Oden constructs a more substantive transformative ecclesiology, one that is embedded in this world: we are to become in the church who we are to be in this world, becoming whole in Christ to be a messianic people in any context.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-7992-8
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Patrick Oden
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. 1 Defining Transformative Churches
    (pp. 1-64)

    In early 2003, just when the so-called emerging church was growing in publishing popularity, I burned out with church. Not burned out with ministry in particular, but with the politics and dysfunctions that I had experienced while working in churches. I was not alone. Indeed, such burnout in others helped spark the initial turn toward emerging church models and helped these models attract so much attention. What was curious about my situation is that, just as the emerging church was gaining in attention, I burned out in particular with the emerging church.¹

    I had become involved in new approaches to...

  6. 2 Transformation in Historical Perspective
    (pp. 65-92)

    As this is a thematic study of Moltmann’s theology, my concern is not the order in which Moltmann wrote, nor the order in which traditional systematic theology develops a cohesive study of God. Rather, my broader goal is to build a case for a program for liberation of the oppressor that can inform transformative churches, suggesting these as the communities in which a transformative messianic life can take shape. Such communities can give practical expression in return, suggesting more themes and examples for reflection. These lives, then, express God’s transformative work and this work resonates outward in this world. To...

  7. 3 Transformation in Anthropological Perspective
    (pp. 93-134)

    Two reluctant German veterans of the Second World War provided what is arguably the most substantive way forward for Protestant theology after Barth and Bultmann seemingly closed the chapter on the Enlightenment theological project. These veterans, Moltmann and Pannenberg, could thus be accurately described as postmodern theologians, though not in the more conventional use of the term as describing forms of continental deconstructionism. They each would resonate more with the forms of postmodern thought discussed above, though not intentionally so and not entirely so. They each sought to construct a theology after Barth and both, in their own way, point...

  8. 4 Transformation in Trinitarian Perspective
    (pp. 135-178)

    What makes a thoroughly Christian theology of liberation, and thus a theology of transformation, so distinctive is, in essence, what makes Christian theology itself so distinctive. We speak of a God who acts, who is involved, and who seeks and calls people toward reflecting his action. We also speak of a particular God who exists in a certain way and, in this way of existing, liberation is not simply an ancillary trait. God loves because that is who God is. God liberates because that is who God is.¹ Liberation is, then, an ontological category in Christian theology, and transformation is...

  9. 5 Practices of a Transforming History
    (pp. 179-196)

    In the first chapter, I began with a description of transformative churches and suggested these reflect in practice that which Moltmann has been emphasizing in his various theological works. In the previous three chapters, I focused on his major works and sought to highlight the ecclesiological themes that seem to run throughout his writings. The themes of history, anthropology, and trinity gather together these themes into a pattern of holistic transformation that orients as people and as a community in this world in light of God’s work for this world. In this present chapter, I will highlight practices that relate...

  10. 6 Practices of a Transforming Anthropology
    (pp. 197-228)

    Transformation in light of a new perspective on history allows us to see, as much as possible, the world as God views it, awakening us to possibilities even in the present. These possibilities lead us towards an engaged response to our own deficiencies and issues within our contexts. We are called towards a liberated and liberating anthropology. This transformation brings renewal as we participate with God’s Spirit in becoming new people, living in a new way in, with, and for our contexts. This movement is the wayfaring journey towards an open fellowship with the Triune God, thus in this movement...

  11. 7 Practices of a Transforming Trinitarianism
    (pp. 229-260)

    The goal of transformation is not the fulfillment of the human self as a determining subject. In highlighting the anthropological elements of transformation, it is important to see these are initiated and oriented towards God’s self, his triunity, a unity of persons who exist in eternal relationality. The mode of transformation involves our particular selves in our particular contexts, with the shape of this transformation finding fulfillment in the presence and personalities of the triune God. God who creates, creates in line with his own being, and it is this being that provides the substance of our own identities. In...

  12. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 261-300)

    Around the year 200, Tertullian wrote a passionate defense of the Christian faith, and in this he presented a very interesting picture of the church in Carthage of his time. He makes note of their weekly gatherings, the support they give one another, their unity and dedication. He goes on to write, “ We are in our congregations just what we are when separated from each other; we are as a community what we are as individuals; we injure nobody, we trouble nobody.”¹ There is a unity to identity; an example that is set in the church is the example...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 301-314)
  14. Index
    (pp. 315-326)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 327-327)