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Models of the Church, Expanded Edition
Random House, Inc / 1991 / Paperback
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One of America's leading theologians defines the basic functions of the Church, assesses its mission on earth, and explores its many different roles in the lives of believers. Dulles identifies six models (institution, mystical communion, sacrament, herald, servant, community of disciples) and critiques each. Vital for ecumenical dialogue.
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."
Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., the first U.S. theologian named to the College of Cardinals, is known both nationally and internationally as a preeminent Catholic scholar, teacher, and theologian. He lives in New York City and holds the McGinley Professorship of Religion and Society at Fordham University. His writings over the past half-century have helped to shape the face of theological reflection in the post-Vatican II Church.
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