The Church, Salvation, and Intergroup Conflict
Imprint: Cascade Books
246 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.49 in
- Published: July 2022
$33.00 / £29.00 / AU$52.00Buy
- Published: July 2022
$31.00 / £26.99 / AU$45.99Buy
What do Christian communities imagine when they think of themselves as "church"? And how do these ecclesiological imaginations inform Christianity's past and present entanglements with violence and injustice? Intercommunal Ecclesiology addresses these questions by examining the distinctive role intergroup dynamics play in shaping Christian collective behaviors against the "other" that are incongruent with Christian theological principles, such as love of neighbor. Through interdisciplinary engagement with social psychology, systems theory, biblical criticism, and studies in the early history of Christianity, this book makes a case for a theological re-envisioning of the church at the three-way intersection of an anthropology of intergroup dynamics, a soteriology adequately rooted in God's historical salvation plan, and a Christology sensitive to Christ's collective embodiment. The book argues that within God's plan of historical salvation, the church is supposed to function as God's communal response to intercommunal disunity, a role it fulfills with integrity only when and where it enacts itself as a counterperformance to aggression, conflict, and indifference between human communities.
Steven J. Battin is assistant professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
“Intercommunal Ecclesiology is a work of creativity and conviction. It makes a real contribution to liberationist theologies of church by identifying the pervasive dynamic of intergroup conflict as the ‘condition for the possibility’ of the many forms of marginalization and oppression that mark history—including the history of the church. Thoroughly interdisciplinary and robustly theological, this book deserves serious and sustained engagement.”
—Edward P. Hahnenberg, Breen Chair in Catholic Theology, John Carroll University
“This brilliant essay in ecclesiology benefits from the author’s careful attention to theologies of salvation. Professor Battin pushes forward important work undertaken since the Second Vatican Council, including the contribution of various liberation and political theologies, while drawing from contemporary research into the dynamics of intergroup violence and integrating it into his deep embrace of the entire Christian tradition. A book every theologian and bishop should read!”
—Kevin F. Burke, SJ, Professor of Theology, Regis University
“Steven Battin’s long-awaited debut monograph asks of ecclesiology a new question: Why does Christ need a church? Battin’s answer is far-reaching in its consequences: as Christ’s collective body, the church exists as a human community amidst other human communities to heal the often-violent disunity between them. Written in crisp, energetic prose, Intercommunal Ecclesiology charts an exciting new path forward for systematic and moral theologians alike.”
—Katie Grimes, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, Villanova University