Christ, Church, and World: Bonhoeffer and Lutheran Ecclesiology after Christendom

Bibliographic information:

Hopkins, Theodore J. Christ, Church, and World: Bonhoeffer and Lutheran Ecclesiology after Christendom. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2021.


As the North American church struggles to navigate the emerging post-Christian context, Theodore J. Hopkins argues that the church is identified by three fundamental relationships: Christ-church-world. By attending to the Christological center of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology, Hopkins establishes a framework for the church’s mission in the world that flows from Christ’s relationship to the church and his relationship to the world. This Christological framework also illuminates the changing relationship between the church and the world in Bonhoeffer’s works, such that Discipleship seems to demarcate the church from the world while Ethics seems to unite church and world in one Christ-reality. Following Bonhoeffer, Hopkins contends that the church is both distinct from the world and in solidarity with it in the dynamic of the crucified Lord Jesus who took the form of a servant and is present in Word, Sacrament, and community as the Risen One. Hopkins envisions the church within the story of Jesus so that preaching and teaching the Gospel identifies the church and calls it to faithfulness in Christ’s own mission. The church is formed to see itself and the world in Jesus and enabled to follow Christ’s mission of witness and service in the world.


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