“Book Review.” Fuellenbach, John. Church: Community for the Kingdom. 2006. NY, NY: Orbis Books, MaryKnoll.

John Fuellenbach, SVD, is a writer and professor. He teaches theology classes in Rome at the Gregorian. He has also taught in places like the Philippines, as well as being an international lecturer. He is most known for his work on the book, The Kingdom of God.

The thesis is the Church’s mission to the world is reflected through a worshiping community, communion, and as its members reflect the values of the Kingdom.

This book is split into two main sections. The first half is basically describing the church and its correlation to Vatican II. The second half looks at world church and the different models of churches and how they are functioning in response to cultural differences.

There was very little that stood out to me in the first half, while it was nominally interesting, I found it hard to intersect my own ideas of mission with Fuellenbach’s theories. One portion that stood out talked about the integration of faith and service and that just like Israel, we were chosen for a purpose, to play a role in God’s mission, and not for our personal gain. Fuellenbach believes that biblical election and service are intertwined (:42).

Another crucial moment in the first half discussed the idea of an egalitarian community. The idea is that from the beginning stages of the Christian community, God intended for it to be free from patriarchal power and dominance. Instead it should be a community of brothers and sisters, full of love and compassion, fighting injustice wherever it is exists (:47).

The second half of the book was more engaging. The concept of the world church and the ideas surround inculturation and contextualization were very fitting to my own experiences with mission. What was best marked was the thread of the theme of poverty that ran throughout this section. I like that globalization was addressed and how it appears that as globalization continues, so does the increase in worldwide poverty and wars, instead of unity and community amongst the churches and citizens of the world (:168).

I the second half compelling and even more in interesting were the models of churches that have worked in places like Asia. The poor continue to be exploited, and the passage begs for the church to look differently in order to make an impact. The reference to Lohfink’s contrast-society was very fitting and cleared up certain questions that arose in the first book.

As a whole, the reading was very helpful. The tangible models were very much needed as an illustration for the church in the world to look differently.

I do wish that the book went deeper into some of the concepts of contextualizing in different cultures and more of what that looks like in the specific models addressed.


One Response to ““Book Review.” Fuellenbach, John. Church: Community for the Kingdom. 2006. NY, NY: Orbis Books, MaryKnoll.”

  1. JR Rozko Says:

    Kaitly, great review. I would have loved to hear your thoughts on the practical and personal applications of this material with regard to your case study.

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