The Christian Church: Biblical Origin, Historical Transformation, and Potential for the Future

The Christian Church: Biblical Origin, Historical Transformation, and Potential for the Future

The Christian Church: Biblical Origin, Historical Transformation, and Potential for the Future

The Christian Church: Biblical Origin, Historical Transformation, and Potential for the Future

Synopsis

With thoroughness and clarity, Hans Schwarz presents a historical and systematic understanding of the church - its worship and piety, its traditions and doctrines, its forms and structures. This skilled assessment outlines the impact of the church today and analyzes its prospects for the future.

Excerpt

It proved more difficult than initially envisioned to complete this volume. I am convinced that it is not possible to assess correctly the church's potential for the future without extensive reference to the church's origin and its major transformations during its journey through the centuries. Yet an understanding of the church cannot be gained by simply narrating its history. Thus a historical, systematic approach to the church's mission and potential must necessarily accentuate certain points and leave many others nearly unmentioned. the responsibility before the tribunal of history, however, requires that the emphases and omissions not be the result of undue bias or ignorance. Thus the present volume is put forth with fear and trembling, but in the hope that the accents concur with the church's origin, call, and mission.

I have taught for a dozen years in a church seminary and have been active in a local congregation, and in the church at large. Many times I have seen the church's shortcomings but 1 have also seen its viability and promise. May this volume inspire others to love that in the church which carries the promise of its Lord and to amend that which detracts from it.

Again, I want to express my gratitude to the various publishers for their generous concern in allowing quotation of the passages included. the material contained in this book has been presented many times in lectures and discussions with colleagues, students, pastors, and laity. I owe much to the questions, criticisms, and suggestions I have encountered. My special thanks to my colleague, Jim Schaaf, and to Tom Skrenes who undertook the arduous task of improving my style. Phyllis Schaaf must be thanked for typing the final draft of the manuscript with both speed and accuracy, and Patricia Campbell, Joy Hacker, and Carol Hester for helping with earlier drafts. Tom Skrenes and Jon Temme deserve thanks for checking out the numerous references. Jon Temme deserves special merit for compiling an extensive introductory bibliography. Ron Grissom did an excel-

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