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Models of the Church - A Critical Assessment…
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Models of the Church - A Critical Assessment of the Church in all its… (edition 1974)

by S. J. Avery Dulles (Author)

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There is today a dramatic reexamination of structure, authority, dogma -- indeed, every aspect of the life of the Church is held up to scrutiny. Welcoming this as a sign of vitality, Avery Dulles has carefully studied the writings of contemporary Protestant and Catholic ecclesiologists and sifted out six major approaches, or "models," through which the Church's character can be understood: as Institution, Mystical Communion, Sacrament, Herald, Servant, and, in a recent addition to the book, as Community of Disciples. A balanced theology, he concludes, must incorporate the major affirmations of each. "The method of models or types," observes Cardinal Dulles, "can have great value in helping people to get beyond the limitations of their own particular outlook and to enter into fruitful conversation with others... Such conversation is obviously essential if ecumenism is to get beyond its present impasses." This new edition includes a new Appendix and Preface by the author.… (more)
Member:kpsteve
Title:Models of the Church - A Critical Assessment of the Church in all its aspects
Authors:S. J. Avery Dulles (Author)
Info:Doubleday (1974), Edition: 1st, 216 pages
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Models of the Church by Avery Dulles

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Just based on the number of sentences I've underlined, "Models of the Church" is one of the most logical and readable books about Catholic ecclesiology that I have every read. Cardinal Avery Dulles lays out the pros and cons for 5 model of the Church -- Church as Institution, Mystical Communion, Sacrament, Herald and Servant. Later he looks at the Church as a Community of Disciples. The models are evaluated on their basis in Scripture, their link to Catholic traditional teaching (including Vatican II) and their resonance with the modern world. Dulles' presentation is thoroughly sane and "unchurchy", describing the pros and cons of each model fairly and honestly. Dulles also examines each model in light of its approach to eschatology, revelation and its ecumenical fitness.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants an honest look at a variety of valid means for imaging the Church. Dulles is the kind of Catholic churchman who is certain enough of his faith that he is willing to judge his Church dispassionately, letting let the chips fall where they may.
  stmarysmelrose | Jul 4, 2007 |
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There is today a dramatic reexamination of structure, authority, dogma -- indeed, every aspect of the life of the Church is held up to scrutiny. Welcoming this as a sign of vitality, Avery Dulles has carefully studied the writings of contemporary Protestant and Catholic ecclesiologists and sifted out six major approaches, or "models," through which the Church's character can be understood: as Institution, Mystical Communion, Sacrament, Herald, Servant, and, in a recent addition to the book, as Community of Disciples. A balanced theology, he concludes, must incorporate the major affirmations of each. "The method of models or types," observes Cardinal Dulles, "can have great value in helping people to get beyond the limitations of their own particular outlook and to enter into fruitful conversation with others... Such conversation is obviously essential if ecumenism is to get beyond its present impasses." This new edition includes a new Appendix and Preface by the author.

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