Schleiermacher on the Necessity of the Church

Bibliographic information:

Schlesinger, Eugene R. “Schleiermacher on the Necessity of the Church.” The Journal of Theological Studies 66 no.1 (2015): 235-256.



This article examines Friedrich Schleiermacher’s arguments for the necessity of the church for the Christian Faith with particular reference to how they cohere with his fundamental starting point, the turn to the subject. The three arguments are: from the communal nature of humanity, from the need for a corporate life of blessedness as opposed to the corporate life of sin, and as a deduction from the doctrine of providence. Through examining each in turn it becomes clear that the necessity of the church is integral to Schleiermacher’s theology and that these three arguments are moments in the unfolding of a single coherent argument. I further note the ways in which the explicit Christocentrism in Schleiermacher’s later works led to development in his approach to the question. Demonstrating the inherently ecclesial nature of Schleiermacher’s thought demands that greater attention be paid to this facet of his theology.


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