Lohfink, Gerhard. Jesus and Community: the Social Dimension of Christian Faith

Decent Essays

Anita Frederick
ML582A Character, Community and Leadership

Lohfink, Gerhard. Jesus and Community: The Social Dimension of Christian Faith. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984. Kindle.

Gerhard Lohfink, German-born in 1934, was Professor of New Testament at the University of Tübinger. In 1986 he resigned to live and work as a theologian in the Catholic Integrierte Gemeinde—a community of priests. This move seems to be a direct outflow of his studies and increasing conviction around the communal aspects of Church from which this book was birthed in 1982. In his introduction Lohfink talks about the influence of Adolf von Harnack towards an individual experience of God. Jesus and Community is Lohfink’s response to the outfall …show more content…

In part four Lohfink shows that this “foundational reception of Jesus' praxis of the reign of God continued beyond the New Testament communities into the age of the ancient church” Reading Lohfink was an experience in climbing an inviting ladder of which some of the rungs were missing when you got there. His description of how the community of believers lived their faith and the impact they had is truly inspiring. It leaves me to reflect on the life of our own community: Have we indeed left everything to follow Jesus? Are we living toward each other with the kind of love that is uncommon in the world? Are we a people of peace, light to the world, flavorful salt in how we live? Reading the accounts of how the early church lived among the pagans and loved sacrificially, there is a call for me as a leader to teach, practice and exemplify that kind of love among our people, along with making opportunities for us to practice it together. On the other hand, Lohfink’s polarizing reaction to “individualism” failed to recognize that a contrast-community consists of individuals who have been transformed by the cross of Jesus and the power of His Spirit. Lohfink argues that no missionary effort is needed because the church as contrast-society will gather people to itself by attraction. He quotes Bronx, saying: “…if it is possible at all to speak of the ancient church's missionary theory the most that can be said is this. The twelve apostles preached the

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