Johann Metz

Moving towards a Metzian Ecclesiology

What is the most fundamental element or key insight that would have to be internalized before [Metz’s ecclesiology] would become convincing to the congregation?

The American Christians must realize their social relationships and leave privatization before they can accept the whole of Metz’s ecclesiology.

A Bourgeois religion is dependent on privatization; in order to envision the Messianic nature of Christianity (MBR 12), we must first understand who we are. How we see ourselves is less universally governed by the church’s direction or definition, rather, as American’s our most universal understanding as to who we are is fundamentally through individual and nation-state interaction.

The American social contract – our constitution – is an enlightenment document that privatizes citizens; this country’s foundational anthropological lens is a privatized lens. The state converses, or coerces, the individual and vice versa, however, it is really only a two-person discussion: the individual and the state. There is no room for social organizations within the Constitution, even corporations are viewed in the eyes of the law as individual persons.

The American Christians needs to realize the influences of the Constitution and understand how the idea of a church is fundamentally a contrary social institution – the body of Christ (CWLPT 133). We can only get to the Christian call when we get past the American Dream and its hope (CR 146).

In the end, I am not calling for the burning of the Constitution or total anarchy, however, I am calling for the awakening of conscience in the American church to understand that the relationship with the government has been unhealthy for the body of Christ; the government defines us, instead of us finding definition amongst ourselves as the body of Christ, and we must first realize that the anthropology given to us by the government is not a Christian anthropology. We can still deal with the government, however, we should realize how that interaction changes us and from that understanding, we can begin to find freedom in relationship within the body.
Metz’s cited texts:

“Messianic or ‘Bourgeois’ Religion” (MBR)
“The Church and the World in the light of ‘Political Theology'” (CWLPT)
“Christian Responsiblity for Planning the Future in a Secular World” (CR)


3 thoughts on “Moving towards a Metzian Ecclesiology

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks for this post. I love Metz. Here is a link to a paper I wrote using Metz to reflect on 9/11:

    “We Will Never Forget”: Metz, Memory, and the Dangerous Spirituality of Post-9/11 America [PDF]

  2. d. w. horstkoetter says:

    Thanks for the paper Michael. I’ll be reading it soon, but between breaking my glasses on tuesday (at least I’m near sighted, but thats like saying “at least I can type with my nose and pinky ’cause those aren’t broken”) and papers for school, it’ll be a little while before I can respond to your paper in particular. However, I will be posting within the next few weeks my concluding thoughts on this Moltmann/Metz class and perhaps you’ll find that also to your liking.

  3. Pingback: Thoughts on Sanctuary: Safe Space, Protection, the Rise of the Modern Nation-State, the Church of England and a bloody video game « flying.farther

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