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    STUDIA THEOLOGIA ORTHODOXA - Issue no. 1-2 / 2002  

Authors:  .
  Abstract:  Some Reflections on Karl Barth’s Ecclesiology, Exposed in Tome L’Eglise. The teaching on Church is situated in the highlight of all theologians of all Christian confessions, Contemporary Protestant Theology manifests a great interest for ecclesiology. We shall refer to the ecclesiology exposed in his book L’Eglise (Die Kirche) by the most remarkable personality of contemporary Protestantism, representative of the dialectical Theology or the Theology of crisis - Karl Barth. With Karl Barth, event is the term in which is concentrated the whole sense of Church’s being. The Church - event makes possible the real meeting man - God in Christ. The Church is the event of God’s word and also that of man’s answer (in front of Him). The usual, normal form of this event is the local community. According to orthodox teaching, it is possible to say that Church is the event of the permanent presence of the Holy Spirit which unites the Head with the Body of Christ (Church). In Karl Barth’s conception the only real Church is the unseen one, although there are some tendencies of recognition of Its seen character. The relationship between the two Churches (the seen and the unseen) has sometimes a hesitant character. Barth affirms the supremacy of the Bible over Church, admiting a relative authority for the latter one depending on Christ, Apostles and the Scripture. The author appropriates the four dogmatic features of Church, laying a stress on the unity in Jesus Christ and Holy Ghost. Church is holy (saint) not because it posseses authority, but through its obedience or submission before God. Barth does not consider thoroughly the sanctifying sense of Church not to be constrained to admit institutional character. Catolicity is understood as solidarity between the members, community of brothers and sisters united through love, but it is not communion with God and between each other through the eucharist with Christ’s Body and Blood. The author speaks only about external apostolic succesion of doctrine and not about apostolic succesion of episcopacy. He uses neo-testamentary expressions in order to designate Church, but these expressions are empty of content and he also gives several definitions, but they are inconsistent. Karl Barth’s position towards Church is more in accordance with that of primary Christianity and it approaches him to a certain extend to Orthodox Church. He affirms Church’s institutional character and lays a stress more than the reformers the seen aspect of Church, but he still remains an opponent of hierarchy and of the sacramental character of Church.  
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