Jürgen Moltmann, Johann Metz

More Moltmann and Metz

The Question: Granting the analogy between the ecclesiologies of Metz and Moltmann on the fundamental level, do you find Moltmann’s X substantially differentiates his ecclesiology from Metz’s or is Moltmann’s ecclesiology sustantially the same as Metz’s?

Moltmann and Metz share many similarities, nevertheless, Moltmann’s tendency to privatize Christianity diverges from Metz.

Moltmann and Metz share a great deal in common. In the preface to the paper back edition (1990), Moltmann calls for a move towards a small ecclesial community, similar to Metz (xiii). Also in the readings, Metz is footnoted twice (17, 276), particularly concerning the political nature of Christianity. Despite these and other similarities, Moltmann stands in contrast to Metz when Moltmann asserts that the church ought not “claim any direct power in secular matters,” specifically in economics, politics and culture (167).

Metz continually rails against a bourgeois Christianity in favor of a messianic Christianity and to do so requires the de-privatization of Christianity. In contrast, while Moltmann calls for liberation, he does so by way of individual Christian action in the political, economic, and cultural sphere that results in the ethical actions of the church carried out through the privatized social contracts between citizens and government (164). For instance, when Moltmann talks about a Christian opposition to immoral ethical systems or actions, he does not call for the church to break away or criticize in some fashion, rather he uses the word “Christians” which connotes an individual’s movements, rather than the movement of the body of Christ (174).

It seems that Metz calls for the church to be the relational model that answers the Christian call, a model that both continually critiques the church and the world. It is through this that the church becomes a vision for the world to understand right relationships through the basileia of God. However, Moltmann distinguishes himself from this – the church does not become the agitator for resistance or representation (194), nor is the church supposed to be envisioning and displaying right relationships concerning racialism, sexism, or valuing the handicapped (182-186); instead, the social problems are confronted by a reformationist idea of justification and the I-identity (189).

Text quoted is: The Church in the Power of the Spirit. However, the pages we did read were not the entire book so as to find some congruence with Metz’s more systematic approach. It seems possible that my critique is off base, but after reading Prof. Haight’s comments, I think I do have a point that is not dealt with elsewhere in the text and therefore can stand.


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