Event Title

Reflections on the Institutional Church

Location

Seminary Room N310

Start Date

15-2-2019 8:30 AM

End Date

15-2-2019 8:50 AM

Description

To a large extent, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a hybrid form of episcopal and institutional governance. Our recent conversations over compliance and women’s ordination have highlighted this and created some dissonance within our administrative structures. Are we perceiving an emphasis on the survival of the institutional church? And if so, are we experiencing a weakening of our Protestant heritage if we develop and rely too much on a hierarchical and institutional structure? Perhaps it is crucial that Seventh-day Adventist leaders reflect on the potential weaknesses of an institutional form of governance.

This paper will first offer an analysis of Avery Dulles’s book Models of the Church, a classic textbook in ecclesiology, with some reflections on Seventh-day Adventist institutionalism.

First published in 1974, Dulles’s book articulates various models of the basic functions and roles of the church in the life of believers as well as its mission on earth. A Roman Catholic Jesuit scholar, Dulles was one of the architects of a post-Vatican II reshaping of Catholic faith and practices, and his book offered paradigms of the church that Catholics could endorse in order to see in Protestant churches true brothers and sisters also belonging to the Body of Christ. Forty-some years later, Models of the Church is still a starting point in any discussion of the church.

His model of the church as an institution should especially interest Seventh-day Adventists. I believe we must pay close attention to Dulles’s critiques of the institutional model of his own church, because I fear we may be making the same mistakes.

This paper will review Dulles’s critique of the institutional form of church governance and offer some reflections for Seventh-day Adventist leaders.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Feb 15th, 8:30 AM Feb 15th, 8:50 AM

Reflections on the Institutional Church

Seminary Room N310

To a large extent, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a hybrid form of episcopal and institutional governance. Our recent conversations over compliance and women’s ordination have highlighted this and created some dissonance within our administrative structures. Are we perceiving an emphasis on the survival of the institutional church? And if so, are we experiencing a weakening of our Protestant heritage if we develop and rely too much on a hierarchical and institutional structure? Perhaps it is crucial that Seventh-day Adventist leaders reflect on the potential weaknesses of an institutional form of governance.

This paper will first offer an analysis of Avery Dulles’s book Models of the Church, a classic textbook in ecclesiology, with some reflections on Seventh-day Adventist institutionalism.

First published in 1974, Dulles’s book articulates various models of the basic functions and roles of the church in the life of believers as well as its mission on earth. A Roman Catholic Jesuit scholar, Dulles was one of the architects of a post-Vatican II reshaping of Catholic faith and practices, and his book offered paradigms of the church that Catholics could endorse in order to see in Protestant churches true brothers and sisters also belonging to the Body of Christ. Forty-some years later, Models of the Church is still a starting point in any discussion of the church.

His model of the church as an institution should especially interest Seventh-day Adventists. I believe we must pay close attention to Dulles’s critiques of the institutional model of his own church, because I fear we may be making the same mistakes.

This paper will review Dulles’s critique of the institutional form of church governance and offer some reflections for Seventh-day Adventist leaders.