The audio from Robyn Elliott’s engagement with the third chapter of my book, For the Life of the World: Jesus Christ and the Church in the Theologies of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Stanley Hauerwas, at the Book Launch Celebration held on July 6, 2016 has now been posted on the Book Launch Celebration page. Robyn was the valedictorian of the graduating class of Tyndale Seminary in 2014 and surely is one of the most gifted communicators to have come out of Tyndale in recent years.
Below is a brief synopsis of the chapter she is interacting with, but I’m sure you’ll find Robyn’s remarks much more compelling.
Chapter 3 – A Peculiar People: The Church of Jesus Christ
In this chapter, Bonhoeffer’s and Hauerwas’s works of “popular ecclesiology” written about the church, for a broader reading constituency within the church, serve as the gateway into the two theologian’s respective ecclesial imaginations. The two books emerging from Bonhoeffer’s time as director of the seminary at Finkenwalde — Discipleship and Life Together — serve to orient the discussion of Bonhoeffer’s ecclesiology. The place that these books occupy in Bonhoeffer’s corpus is occupied in Hauerwas’s work by two works co-authored with William H. Willimon — Resident Aliens and Where Resident Aliens Live — which, in turn, serve as the entry-point into Hauerwas’s ecclesiology. In these works, we see both Bonhoeffer and Hauerwas attempting to diagnose what ails the church of their day. Both Bonhoeffer and Hauerwas are convinced that in their respective contexts the church must recover its public presence as an identifiable community of disciples. Furthermore, both complement their conception of the church as a community of radical discipleship with what could be considered to be a more “catholic” ecclesiology that understands the existence of the concrete church-community to be internal to the Gospel. Both theologians perceive that this development brings them into conflict with Karl Barth, whose theology has otherwise had such a profound influence upon them. However, their emphases upon practicing the presence of Christ suggest a constructive way beyond their critical impasses with Barth. The trajectory just outlined provides the road map for the exploration, in turn, of each man’s ecclesiological vision. This analysis is followed by a summary section shaped around the traditional creedal notes of the church. This presents the opportunity for observing how the work of the two theologians provides the impetus for a revitalized deployment of the creedal notes of the church, while at the same time providing an occasion to bring their ecclesiological insights into constructive dialogue with one another.