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Joshua YJ Su

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A Trinitarian Covenantal Theology of the Church
by Joshua YJ Su   

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Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  0595148360 Type: 


Copyright:  Dec 1 2000

Barnes &

The Christian Church faces many challenges today that threaten to disrupt its life and mission. This book appraises the trinitarian ecclesiology of John Zizioulas and Jurgen Moltmann and proposes that the Church is a creation of the Holy Trinity through the biblical covenants.

This book highlights the need of a deep and sound understanding of the Church in the face of the many different challenges that it meets today. It emphasizes the need of a biblically based study of the Church that is based on hermeneutically sound understanding of what is said in the Bible. In this light, it has identified that the trinitarian approach to ecclesiology is particularly rich.
A survey of the approaches to ecclesiology in the different traditions and in the history of the Church uncovers that the trinitarian approach has a long history that is finding revival today. It selects and appraises the trinitarian ecclesiology of John D. Zizioulas and Jurgen Moltmann as two developed models of this approach. While they have both developed ecclesiology on the basis of the Holy Trinity, they are represents of two very different traditions of the Church. Zizioulas is Greek Orthodox and Moltmann is Reformed. The former emphasizes the patristic fathers and the confluence of the Bible and early Greek philosophy. The latter emphasizes the biblical concept of promise and its theological and historical significance. Therefore they offer great and rich contrast in their exposition.
Finally, a link is made between the Holy Trinity and the biblical covenants as an approach to trinitarian ecclesiology. This approach gives scope to combining the different strengths of Zizioulas and Moltmann. It is also a new insight that points to a new trinitarian approach to ecclesiology that is strongly grounded in the Bible.
The Church today lives in a highly complex world. Such issues as apartheid, AIDS, homosexuality, women's liberation, the ordination of women, rich versus poor, terrorism, civil unrest, oppressive regimes and revolutions face churches at this or that place or everywhere. Myriad interest and pressure groups call for changes and reforms. Divergent views without and within resulting in conflict or indecision threaten to rend it apart. Many new movements or influences such as Pentecostalism, the Charismatic Renewal, the Liturgical Movement have brought new fervour and controversy. At the same time there is the growth of many different new theologies, such as feminist theology, black theology, liberation theology, Minjung theology, which are coming from the reflections of Christians from a far greater cultural diversity than ever before. The Church has met these with mixed fortunes....In the face of the need to understand its own essence and mission the Church has in its life approached it from many different perspectives. The particular perspective or approach with which this thesis is concerned is the trinitarian approach.
The primary purpose for our comparison of Zizioulas and Moltmann is to highlight issues of particular interest to us in exploring how trinitarian ecclesiology might be further developed....We shall... be selective to draw out only those points that are germane to how their trinitarian ecclesiologies may be mutually corrective or strengthening and identify areas for further development....The basic premise that we stand on is that the biblical covenants are signs that are revelationally indicative of the triunity of God. They point to and lead towards the trinitarian consummation of the total divine purpose and design. It is a trinitarian revelational act that points simultaneously to the inner being of God as triune and to the outworking of His will in creation and salvation. Thus the first aspect correlates with Zizioulas's ontological personhood, the second with Moltmann's history of the Trinity. Thereby it is a central biblical concept that at once addresses the two different lines of development taken by them. It holds within its meaning many further resources for theological development and in that way it can advance beyond what they have accomplished.

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Reader Reviews for "A Trinitarian Covenantal Theology of the Church"

Reviewed by matt 6/3/2003
Very insightful. WOuld also suggest Colin Gunton's "The One, The THree, and The Many" along with LaCugna's "God For Us". Bobrinskoy's "The Mystery of the Trinity" is great, along with McPartlan's "The Eucharist Makes the Church" and "Sacrament of Salvation". A final book, "Energies of the Spirit" by Duncan Reid, is very good! Enjoy!
Reviewed by Peter J. Herz 8/20/2002
As a believer in trinitarian, orthodox Christianity and in the covenant theology of the Reformed churches, I would like to see more before I draw any conclusions.

By the way, Dr. Su, I speak, read, and write Chinese.
Reviewed by 8/25/2001
As a strong atheist and having debated this with agnostics many times I could not disagree more.

First of all, nobody can agree even on the definition of god.

In fact, gods do exist. Some are made of stone, some of crystal some of granite. Is that what you mean by gods? Well those gods can exist and do exist but they are useless.

As for the christian/Jewish/islamic god, it does not exist simply because that god is a logical impossibility.

Now, untill you define what kind of god can or cannot exist or is unknowable from a definition point of view, you are arguing an unintelligeable argument.

Let me make this simple. Nothing within existence can exist under the label "god" and nothing outside existence can exist as it is circular logic.

Therefore, all that exists is self sustaining. A self sustaining being within existence cannot be both in existence and the source of existence. It is either outside existence, which means in the mind of people alone, or within existence, in which case it is not a god but a product or byproduct of existence. In either case, god, as has been proposed by manking, IS a logical impossibility.

If you wish to debate this with me, come to ChristianityExposed.Com and sign up on my forum and we'll debate.
Reviewed by Janet Caldwell 5/13/2001
Great!! It's Mothers' dat ;-) So I have a ton to do, Keep it up!!!! Great work,JC
Reviewed by susie harrison 5/10/2001
A very interesting review of the scorn bible based churches face in today's society! As the general population around the world excepts unbiblical teachings as mainstream lifestyles, God and the Bible are not only taking the back seat, but our beliefs are now being ridiculed and persecuted. Ironically biblical predictions of this are now becoming a real threat to the basic Christian beliefs.
I am not sure of the trinity concept, although I do believe in the trinity, however this publication brings to light a subject that modern day civilization refuses to listen too.
Thanks to this fine author for having the courage to stand up for what many of us believe and be counted.

susie harrison
'innocent insights'
'It's 10pm, Where is your Government'
'Our Biggest Little Hero, In the Hands of a Gentle God'

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