THE PROTESTANT CHURCH AS INSTITUTION OF INTERPRETATION AND ORGANIZATION OF ACTION IN MODERN SOCIETY

Michael Haspel

Abstract


Starting 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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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/85-0-933

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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