“Book Review.” Karkkainen, Veli-Matti. “An Introduction to Ecclesiology.” 2002. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.

Veli-Matti Karkkainen is from Finland and is currently a Fuller professor who teachers systematic theology. He has also published several articles in international theology journals as well as several books. His more well-known works include An Introduction to the Theology of Religions and Pneumatology: The Holy Spirit in Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective.

The thesis of this book is to present an analysis on comparative and contextual theologies, which have become more prevalent due to the ecumenical movements.

Karkkainen breaks it up into three sections. The first section is a discussion of ecclesiology traditions. It takes a look at the Eastern Orthodox Religion, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Free Church, Pentecostal and Charismatic, and finally, the Ecumenical Movement.

Part Two explores some of the leading contemporary ecclesiologists including: J. Zizioulas, H. Kung, W. Pannenberg, J. Moltmann, M. Volf, J. McClendon Jr. and Leslie Newbigin.

Finally, the third portion delves into the global realms of ecclesiology through contextual ecclesiologies: The Non-Church Movement in Asia, Base Ecclesial Communities in Latin America, The Feminist Church, African Independent Churches (AICs), The Shepherding Movement’s Renewal Ecclesiology, “A World Church” and Post-Christian Church as “Another City.”

While this book was an in-depth experience in looking at different churches and traditions, I found it difficult to apply to my own mission in the inner city. Certain aspects jumped out at me (mostly in the third section) such as the church’s role to call for justice, or the church as a gathered people, or community, all seemed fitting for inner city ministry.

As a whole, while informative, I did not find this reading particularly applicable. I am sure that this knowledge is helpful to get a larger grasp around the whole issue of the church and its role, especially in the world, so in that way it was beneficial.

I found our first two books which explored contrast society and the Kingdom concepts much more specific to my particular context of mission.

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One Response to ““Book Review.” Karkkainen, Veli-Matti. “An Introduction to Ecclesiology.” 2002. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.”

  1. jrrozko1 Says:

    I can see why you saw other books as more direstly relevant, but I wonder if the idea of unity that Karkkaines stresses doesn’t directly apply as well or the idea of seeking to embrace others of various traditions. Though I am typically telling students to shorten their reviews, I want to encourage you to make the most of the 500 words you’re aiming for.

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