194 Ecclesiology Witness, Democracy and Civil Society 195 Witness, Democracy and Civil Society: Reflections on John Howard Yoder’s Exilic Ecclesiology RICHARD BOURNE Division of Religion and Philosophy, St Martin’s College, Bowerham Road, Lancaster, UK email@example.com Ecclesiology 3.2 (2007) 195–213 DOI: 10.1177/1744136607073349 © 2007 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks CA and New Delhi) http://ECC.sagepub.com ABSTRACT This article examines the compatibility between an ecclesial focus in contemporary theological ethics and an account of democratic citizenship. It focuses on the work of the Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder. It explores the use of a motif that appeared with increasing frequency in Yoder’s later writings, and has yet to receive much substantial academic attention – that of exilic citizenship. It then notes parallels between this exilic ecclesiology and contemporary understandings of civil society. It concludes that an exilic reading of Christian witness provides a fruitful basis for a theology of democratic participation. KEYWORDS citizenship, civil society, coercion, exile, witness Introduction C ritics of the ecclesial focus of much contemporary theological ethics often lament the perceived limitations such an emphasis places on a form of citizenship that is both Christian and democratic. For example, Raymond Plant complains that the approach adopted by Stanley
Ecclesiology – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2007
Keywords: coercion; witness; civil society; exile; citizenship
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