Gerhard Lohfink: Does God Need the Church?

This book is written some years before the Jesus book, but it has the same ”bringing-it-all-together”-character to it. Again it is hard to avoid the comparison with Yoder, but whereas Yoder is an ethicist with very good knowledge of the Bible, Lohfink is a NT scholar with a very good grasp of political theology. And, as I said he is German and a Catholic. But they end up with an extremely similar understanding of Christianity and the church.

This book, then, traces the centrality of ”community” from the Old Testament, through Jesus, the Early Church and on to the church of today’s world. Obviously, the point is that Christianity just does not make sense without the community of Gods people, but Lohfink also tries to characterise this people. The best parts, understandably, is the chapters where he examines the role of the community in the teaching of Jesus and the apostles.

The book ends with a very beautiful auto-biographical chapter on ”The Church and I”, with tells of Lohfinks own experience from childhood up till now, through the ”critical” years up to his experiences in the Katoholishe Integrierte Gemeinde.

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