THE PROTESTANT CHURCH AS INSTITUTION OF INTERPRETATION AND ORGANIZATION OF ACTION IN MODERN SOCIETY
AbstractStarting from an analysis of Francis Schuessler Fiorenza’s argument for a political theology based on the notion of the church as a community of interpretation, this essay argues that, from a Protestant perspective, the church in modern societies should be seen, both theologically and sociologically, as institution or organization, rather than as community (1, 2). The church is faced not only with a diversity of interpretations of tradition, but in fact with a legitimate diversity of interpretive aims, and therefore modes (3). The essay suggests that the specific mode of interpretation of the ethical tradition aiming at participation in the public discourse should be understood as contextualization (4), and the church properly understood as institution or organization in the life-world in modern societies (5) can not only contribute meaningfully to ethical public discourse but also facilitate public moral action (6).
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