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An Introduction to Ecclesiology: Ecumenical, Historical Global Perspectives

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  22 reviews
What is the church? What makes the churchchurch? In this volume, theologian Veli-Matti KArkkAinen provides an up-to-date survey and analysis of the major ecclesiological traditions, the most important theologians, and a number of contextual approaches that attempt to answer these essential questions. Drawing on his international experience, global research and ecumenical a ...more
Paperback, 238 pages
Published October 2nd 2002 by IVP Academic (first published August 31st 2002)
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3.59  · 
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 ·  184 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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J.R. Woodward
Oct 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
wes Goertzen
Nov 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: seminary
I like/respect Karkkainen's tone throughout the book. He practices ecumenism through the way he presents the traditions: Always very positively. He uses Hans Kung as the Roman representative though Kung is on the fringes of Vatican orthodoxy, etc. So if you want to be critical in the well, negative sense of teh word, look elsewhere for dirt and inconsistencies, and all in the traditions. But if you want to get an idea of how each tradition could be characterized in meaningful conversation, this ...more
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
What I didn't like about this book was alot of ecclesiology without soteriology. The definition of the church requires definitions of the Gospel.

This academic book swings from Roman Catholic (post Vatican II emphasis) ideas of the church to Charismatic doctrines of church, from Jurgen Moltmann's theologizing to Hans Kung's scholarship, from "feminist theology" to the shepherding movement.

Karkkainen is diverse indeed. I am just not convinced the actual church is as diverse as this book is, yet
Timothy Gatewood
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
First, the author played very fast and loose with the word "introduction." Too much was assumed of his readers and this ultimately hurt the book's effectiveness and readability. Second, this introductory survey definitely favors charismatic ecclesiology. This is not surprising considering the author's area of expertise, but it does seem to impact the survey's objectivity. Would only recommend for someone already grounded in ecclesiology who is looking to expand their views.
Jonathan Boerger
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great survey of various ecclesial perspectives. If you want to cover a lot of ground but don't want to read a tonne of material, Kärkkäinen has done the leg work for you!
Matthew Hansen
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Karkkainen's task is to present a "comparative ecclesiology" (14). Unlike many other comparative ecclesiologies which only give platform to differences and similarities of "ecclesiologies of different denominations" and "representative theologians"; Karkkainen widens the scope to give equal platform to modern contextual ecclesiologies as well (14). This is the format used to structure his book.
In the first section of the book, Karkkaien gives us an arial view of the more historical and dominan
Marc Sims
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was an okay overview of a (very) wide view of ecclesiologies. The writing, however, was abysmal. Reading through the book was like trying to eat through a bowl of soggy drywall, just to get to a couple cheerios at the bottom. Theologians who have something to say, need to first take some writing lessons to learn how to say it in a clear way. I did appreciate the last two-thirds of the book as an okay introduction to differing view of the church, and found some of the insights informati ...more
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Veli-Matti Karkkainen's *An Introduction to Ecclesiology* is a solid overview of all the major denominations, important theologians, and significant movements' teaching on the nature of the church. The book's strength is it's fairness, breath, and succinctness. The weakness of the book is its abstract language and lack of context. Also, I expected a through-going critical evaluation of all the views at the end of the book, but found no complete analysis. I enjoyed Karkkainen's effort, but I expe ...more
Matthew Blanton
Great book! Very helpful in understanding the varying ecclesial traditions throughout the whole church. I was encouraged and excited by the amount of similarities that are shared by many modern ecclesiologists and global "contexual ecclesiologies. It seems that we are experiencing a widespread "congregalization" of church structures...even many established theologians are challenging the hierarchical structure of the Church, divide between the clergy/laity, and formal, organized worship possible ...more
Sep 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
I wanted to throw this book at a Theologian. Really, anybody would have done but I would have felt guilty throwing this book at someone, who like me, could not comprehend what was being discussed. While the latter chapters of the book were okay, the first few chapters were Greek to me. This book it great if you are a theologian or can understand the theological terminology but otherwise, save the migraine meds and read a different book.
Gerard Kelly
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very good introduction to 20th Century ecclesiology. Karkkainen surveys big-hitters from across the board - Orthodox to Evangelical / Pentecostal. He highlights some of their differences, but the overall impact is to illustrate the convergence that has taken place in recent years. Encouraging, stimulating and extremly useful.
Jennifer Powell
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Karkkainen gives a broad and sweeping overview of ecclesial approaches and shapes it into an exciting prospectus for the church moving forward into this next phase of her evolution. The language can be a bit daunting if one is fluent in 'theologicalese'. Take the time to look up the words you don't know for a much more enjoyable experience with the book.
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A broad introduction into the discipline of Ecclesiology. Karkkainen is a master at summarizing massive works in a few paragraphs. This book also gives a clear and unbiased understanding of what the major players in Ecclesiology have to say without having to sift through thousands of pages.
Kenneth Lee
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent study here!
Brian Fergus
Oct 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Helpful summery of common and some uncommon ecclesiologies
Patty Peebles
Still reading!
Nicholas Quient
A helpful introduction. The great theologians are investigated and summarized in a succinct and punchy manner. His section on Pannenberg was most helpful.

Nov 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ministry, dmingml
Because I read this book as a part of my Doctor of ministry work, I've posted reviews of it online:
Dallas Nord
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A wide-spanning look at various ecclesiologies. Karkkainen looks at various traditions, individual theologians, and contextual ecclesiologies.
Matthew Moravec
rated it it was ok
Dec 26, 2014
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Jan 26, 2017
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Dan Yarnell
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Jul 22, 2016
Ian Dickerson
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May 25, 2019
C.J. Moore
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Dec 28, 2018
Pastor Ben
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Veli-Matti Käkkäinen is professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He has published numerous articles in international journals of theology.
“the mission of the church is not to “spread the church but to spread the kingdom”;” 0 likes
“Religion stabilizes us and reassures us. Revelation destabilizes and disturbs us.” 0 likes
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