The Failure of the Triumphant Church (Series on “Minding the Web”)

This is the sixth in a series of posts highlighting captivating, provocative, or simply entertaining quotes from the forthcoming book Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections by Stanley Hauerwas with Robert J. Dean (Cascade).

“In contrast to the triumphant church, the early church was a mili­tant church. The militant church, moreover, alone is the church. The triumphant church, as well as the very concept of Christendom, is but vain conceit. Nowhere is that vanity more apparent than the triumphant church’s inability to produce martyrs. The triumphant church has the illusion that she has conquered the world, but in fact the world has con­quered her. The triumphant church may make much of the doctrines that allegedly constitute the faith—the triumphant church may celebrate her “orthodoxy”—but she fails to see that Christianity is not doctrine but rather a life named Jesus.”1

  1. Stanley Hauerwas, “Kierkegaard and the Academy: A Theological Meditation,” Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018), 85.

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