Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Religion, Theological Studies PhD

First Advisor

Raoul F. Dederen

Second Advisor

Hans K. LaRondelle

Third Advisor

Robert M. Johnston


This dissertation deals with the concept of the nature of the church in the thought of G. C. Berkouwer as indicated in the following chapter sketches. Chapter 1 briefly outlines the historical and theological development of thought about the nature of the church, her function, and the interrelationship of the two. The most revelant elements of the church's nature are identified, described, and analyzed in both Roman Catholic and Reformed thought. Chapter 2 presents biographical, methodological, and theological backgrounds of Berkouwer. These provide the framework within which one must understand Berkouwer's view of the nature of the church. Chapter 3 describes and analyzes Berkouwer’s understanding of the nature of the church. It interprets the manner in which the Dutch theologian relates the church’s essence to her function. This study ends, in chapter 4, with a critical appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of Berkouwer's position on the nature of the church. It is concluded that his model for solving the tension between the church's essence and her function is inadequate because it fails to take into account all of the pressing questions which need to be addressed by contemporary ecclesiology. Finally, some of the tensions of the Dutch theologian's view on the nature of the church are raised as fruitful areas for further investigation.

Subject Area

Church, Mission of the church, Berkouwer, G. C. (Gerrit Cornelis), 1903- --Views on the Church, Andrews University--Dissertations--Church.


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