An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Historical, Global, and Interreligious Perspectives, By Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen alt

An Introduction to Ecclesiology

Historical, Global, and Interreligious Perspectives

Revised and Expanded Edition

by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

An Introduction to Ecclesiology
  • Length: 296 pages
  • Published: March 02, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 4190
  • ISBN: 9780830841905

*affiliate partner

What is the church? Why are there so many different expressions of church throughout time and space, and what ties them all together?

Ecclesiology—the doctrine of the church—has risen to the center of theological interest in recent decades. In this text, theologian Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen provides a wide-ranging survey of the rich field of ecclesiology in the midst of rapid developments and new horizons. Drawing on Kärkkäinen's international experience and comprehensive research on the church, this revised and expanded edition is thoroughly updated to incorporate recent literature and trends. This unique primer not only orients readers to biblical, historical, and contemporary ecclesiologies but also highlights contextual and global perspectives and includes an entirely new section on interfaith comparative theology. An Introduction to Ecclesiology surveys

  • major theological traditions, including Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Reformed, and Pentecostal
  • ecclesiological insights from Latin American, Africa, and Asia
  • distinct perspectives from women, African Americans, and recent trends in the United States
  • key elements of the church such as mission, governance, worship, and sacraments
  • interreligious comparison with Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist communities

As the church today encounters challenges and opportunities related to rapid growth in the Majority World, new congregational forms, ecumenical movements, interfaith relations, and more, Christians need a robust ecclesiology that makes room for both unity and diversity. In An Introduction to Ecclesiology students, pastors, and laypeople will find an essential resource for understanding how the church can live out its calling as Christ's community on earth.

"Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen presents us with an astute historical and global summary of ecclesial traditions and contemporary trends, shaping the plight of the church's mission today in this illuminating revised and expanded edition of An Introduction to Ecclesiology. Interreligious understandings of the church are essential in our ever-diversifying climate, and Kärkkäinen offers his significant perspective on its importance for us today. This updated book is a challenging book, as the church navigates through new territories and a changing global landscape."

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, professor of theology at Earlham School of Religion, author of Reimagining Spirit and Keeping Hope Alive

"When it comes to theological primers, this one by Veli-Matti Kärkäinen is probably without peers. It is concise without sacrificing essentials, comprehensive without overburdening the beginner. This expanded edition includes contributions from the Majority World and voices from the margins, which make it a truly ecumenical state-of-the-art introduction."

Simon Chan, editor of the Asia Journal of Theology, Singapore

"An ecumenical ecclesiology needs to strike a balance between institutional stability and spiritual freedom as well as between apostolic legacy and prophetic orientation. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen offers a reliable and balanced introduction to the different profiles of the one and holy Christian church. He also leads the reader to recognize the distinctive identity of the church within the variety of global religious communities."

Risto Saarinen, University of Helsinki

"This completely revised and expanded edition is an ecclesiological tour de force. With keen attention to the pluralistic and global context of theology today, Kärkkäinen's up-to-date survey of Christian perspectives on the doctrine of the church is as rich in depth as it is diverse in scope. It is certain to be a widely used textbook on the church for years to come."

Cheryl M. Peterson, professor of systematic theology, Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, and author of Who Is the Church? An Ecclesiology for the Twenty-First Century

"Kärkkäinen's critical survey of Christian views of the church comes at a time when interest in ecclesiology is rising. It provides a helpful map through the terrain of diverse interpretations of the nature of the church for those interested in an introduction and a refresher course in doctrines of the church for those who studied it long ago but have forgotten much of what they learned. Above all it contributes to our ecumenical understanding of different Christian traditions. It is a gift to the body of Christ to be enjoyed by Christians who want to understand that body's unity in diversity."

Roger E. Olson, professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

"This long-awaited revised and expanded edition of An Introduction to Ecclesiology is a remarkable cartography of the church's complex yet beautiful reality. Not only does Kärkkäinen demonstrate his broad knowledge of multiple ecclesiological resources, but he also distills a lifetime of engagement with the one and multiple, spiritual and historical, faces of the faith community. This book will undoubtedly be of great use to anyone interested in how the church should faithfully relate to other faiths, new cultural challenges, and the uncertain future."

Joas Adiprasetya, professor of constructive theology at Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia


Introduction: Key Issues of Ecclesiology

Part One: Ecclesiological Traditions and Key Theologians
Orientation to Part One: Biblical, Historical, and Theological Roots of the Christian Community
1. The Church as an Icon of the Trinity: Eastern Orthodox Ecclesiology
2. The Church as the People of God: Roman Catholic Ecclesiology
3. The Church Around the Word and Sacraments I: Protestant Reformation Ecclesiologies—Lutheran Tradition
4. The Church Around the Word and Sacraments II: Protestant Reformation Ecclesiologies—Reformed Tradition
5. The Church as the Fellowship of Believers: Free Church Ecclesiologies
6. The Church in the Power of the Spirit: Pentecostal/Charismatic Ecclesiologies
7. Concluding Reflections on Ecclesiastical Traditions

Part Two: Contextual and Global Ecclesiologies
Orientation to Part Two: The Church Goes Global
8. The Power of Liberation and Base Communities in Latin America
9. The Ecclesiological Context and Conditions in Africa
10. Christian Communities on Asian Soil
11. The Church in Women's Imagination and Critique
12. The Mosaic of the American Church: An Ecclesiological Laboratory

Part Three: The Life and Mission of the Church
Orientation to Part Three: The Ministry of the Missional Church
13. The Church as Mission and the Tasks of the Missionary Church
14. The Ministry, Ministers, and Governance of the Church
15. The Worship and Liturgy of the Church
16. The Sacraments and Ordinances of the Church
17. The Unity of the Church and the Promise of the Ecumenical Movement

Part Four: The Christian Church Among Religious Communities
Orientation to Part Four: The Challenge of Religious Diversity
18. The Jewish Synagogue and the Church
19. The Islamic Ummah and the Church
20. Hindu Spiritual Life and Community
21. The Buddhist Sangha and Spiritual Pursuit

Epilogue: Whither Ecclesiology in the Third Millennium?
Author Index
Subject Index


You May Also Like

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (Dr.Theol.Habil., University of Helsinki) is professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and docent of ecumenics at the University of Helsinki. He is ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and is also an expert on Pentecostal/charismatic movements. He has served as visiting professor in various schools around the world and has participated in numerous international theological, missiological, and interfaith consultations. His many books include The Trinity: Global Perspectives, An Introduction to the Theology of Religions, and the five-volume series A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World.