Having read Kingdom Ethics for a previous course, I’m substituting Gerhard Lohfink’s Jesus and Community from our recommended reading list.
Lohfink begins his book, much to my liking, by changing the questions about Jesus and the church. Both within critical scholarship and the protestant tradition, the links between Jesus and community are often severed, and I know many folks who insist that their salvation does not rest upon whether or not they are part of a church. When I hear this, my unspoken response is “well, yeah, but…you’re missing a huge dimension of God’s life when you follow that logic, and do you really want to call that salvation?’ IMO, our individualistic understanding of salvation needs some serious revision, particularly when it comes to being tangible and visible. Lohfink moves in that direction, pointing to the pre-reformation understanding of church as a ‘concrete, identifiable, salvific community,’ and making the links between what followed Jesus and what preceded him, that being the scattered, yet visible, people of God.