He is a member of three working groups of the World Council of Churches and some of his areas of expertise include Pneumatology, Ecclesiology, Pannenberg, Luther, and Pentecostal-Charismatic theologies. Chapter 2: Roman Catholic ecclesiology, after Vatican II, sees the church as the people of God, pilgrim people on the way to the heavenly city (28). Chapter 3: Lutheran ecclesiology sees the church as the gathering of the just and sinful people; it is non-institutional, and a hospital for the sick. Chapter 4: Reformed ecclesiology sees the church as a graced covenant community. Chapter 5: Free Church ecclesiology sees the church as the fellowship of believers, and includes groups like Anabaptist, Baptist, Methodist and Quakers. Chapter 6: Pentecostal/Charismatic ecclesiology sees the church as a charismatic fellowship empowered by the Holy Spirit. Chapter 9: Hans Küng a catholic with a charismatic ecclesiology sees the church as the people of God, on a pilgrimage. Chapter 10: Wolfhart Pannenberg a Lutheran with a universal ecclesiology sees the church as anticipation and a sign of the unity of all people under one God (115). Part III Contextual Ecclesiologies Chapter 15: The Non-Church Movement in Asia founded by Uchimura from Japan is anti-institutional, emphasizing gospel by faith alone and priesthood of all. Churches need to consider their view on sacraments, structure, leadership, ecumenicalism, the priesthood of all believers and how the Trinity informs our ecclesiology. Besides wetting my appetite for more reading in ecclesiology, this book caused me to want to clarify my thoughts on the sacraments and how the Holy Spirit informs structure.
But if you want to get an idea of how each tradition could be characterized in meaningful conversation, this is a good book.
This academic book swings from Roman Catholic (post Vatican II emphasis) ideas of the church to Charismatic doctrines of church, from Jurgen Moltmann's theologizing to Hans Kung's scholarship, from "feminist theology" to the shepherding movement.
In the second section of the book, Karkkaien seems to narrows the scope of his ecclesiologial task of section one by introducing us to seven leading modern theologians. Karkkaien brings his book to completion by suggesting that ecclesiology will, from its marginal location, begin to "occupy theologians' agenda." (231) He believes, we live in a world where we have lost our sense of community and belonging. Karkaien states that, "what one believes about the church and its ecclesiality carries over into one's approach to the challenge of unity." (81) He will go on to say, "with the exception of most Free Churches, almost all other Christian churches currently regard visible unity as the desired goal of ecumenism." (84) If unity is the goal, and Karkkaien's work is to present traditions, theologians, and contextual ecclesiologies with this similar aim, why then is no attention given to that which scripture says will help bring us to our goal?
I did appreciate the last two-thirds of the book as an okay introduction to differing view of the church, and found some of the insights informative and refreshing.
*An Introduction to Ecclesiology* is a must read for the pastor or theologian who desires to know all the views and applications of various eccelsiologies lived and experienced throughout the church catholic.