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Reinhold Niebuhr and Contemporary Politics$
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Richard Harries and Stephen Platten

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571833.001.0001

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Reinhold Niebuhr's ‘Outsider Ecclesiology’

Reinhold Niebuhr's ‘Outsider Ecclesiology’

(p.87) 6 Reinhold Niebuhr's ‘Outsider Ecclesiology’
Reinhold Niebuhr and Contemporary Politics

Wendy Dackson

Oxford University Press

Ecclesiology is one of the weaker aspects of Niebuhr's thinking. He frequently collapses the ideas of ‘Church’, ‘Christianity’, and the aggregate of believers into one another in sometimes confusing ways. This chapter shows that his theological outlook, which has come to be known as Christian Realism, gave him an awareness of the way those who stood outside the Church might view the institution, its beliefs and actions, and the individuals with whom they had daily contact in the wider social environment, and by doing so, indicates an ‘outsider ecclesiology’ which describes the Church from the standpoint of those who are not its members.

Keywords:   Reinhold Niebuhr, ecclesiology, Christian realism, Church

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