Avery Dulles, one of America's leading theologians, surveys the different understandings among Protestant and Catholic theologians of what a church is and sums them up in Models of the Church, a bestseller since its 1978 publication. Six major models emerge: the church as institution, mystical communion, sacrament, herald, servant, and community ...
Avery Dulles, one of America's leading theologians, surveys the different understandings among Protestant and Catholic theologians of what a church is and sums them up in Models of the Church, a bestseller since its 1978 publication. Six major models emerge: the church as institution, mystical communion, sacrament, herald, servant, and community of disciples.
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I know that when this book was written in 1974 it was a little controversial in regards to the pluralistic ideas that Avery Cardinal Dulles proposed, especially since the radical changes sprouted by Vatican II were still fresh in the Roman Catholic culture. I, however, was not born until a few years after this book was written and I certainly did not become Roman Catholic for almost another three decades. This book lays out how I have always known the Roman Catholic church to be: a little instituional, communal, a lot sacramental, a little be preachy, and mostly, very serving. Perhaps the Roman Catholic church is the way it is because of Dulles' influence. I think that Cardinal Dulles is fair and objective in his evaluation of models. I only lacked the understanding of what the Roman Catholic church was ever like before this book was written.
Jul 19, 2007
INSTITUTIONAL The official Church teaches, sanctifies, and rules with the authority of Christ What are the bonds of union? Profession of the true faith; rules out pagans, Moslems, Jews, heretics, apostates. Communion in the sacraments; rules out catechumens, excommunicated persons. Submission to legitimate pastors; rules out schismatics. Who are the beneficiaries? Members What is the goal or purpose of the Church? To give its members everlasting life. COMMUNION The Church is God?s People The Church is Christ?s Body growing into the final perfection of the Kingdom What are the bonds of union? Interior grace, gifts of the spirit/intimate union Who are the beneficiaries? Those animated by supernatural faith and charity. What is the goal or purpose of the Church? To lead men into communion with the divine. SACRAMENTAL The Church is the visible manifestation of the grace of Christ in human community What are the bonds of union? Manifested faith, hope & charity visibly signified by witness, worship and service Who are the beneficiaries? Those whose contact with believers has enabled them to better articulate their faith. What is the goal or purpose of the Church? To make men become visible symbols of Christ?s grace. HERALD The Church takes on an authoritarian role, proclaiming the gospel as a divine message to which the world must humbly listen What are the bonds of union? Faith as a response to the gospel. Each congregation alone. Who are the beneficiaries? Hearers of the word that commit themselves to Christ What is the goal or purpose of the Church? To preach the gospel to the world SERVANT The Church listens to the world?s needs lives in its house and serves it What are the bonds of union? Brothers working together in service Who are the beneficiaries? Those that are heard and receive from the Church What is the goal or purpose of the Church? To help, to prophesy
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