The Real Church
An Ecclesiology of the Visible
By Harald Hegstad
Due for release 27/06/2013
What does it mean to believe in the church, as it is stated in the Nicene Creed? What is the relationship between the church we believe in and the church we experience? Is there an invisible church that is different from the visible — a metaphysical different from the physical? While the visible church could be understood as the congregation of leaders and worshipers, the invisible church maybe considered the construct of theologians; Dr Harald Hegstad argues that a division of this kind should not exist.
The Real Church thoroughly evaluates the church today to explore whether theology translates into practice. Dr Hegstad explores such issues as the relationship between church and world, mission; church as fellowship and organization, ministries in the church, worship, and the unity of the church, to help discuss the relationship between a sociological and a theological understanding of the church.
Hegstad establishes that the visible church is the only real church, a statement of profound importance because the visible church is how everyday worshippers experience their religion. Indeed he suggests ‘The church becomes the church when people gather in the name of Jesus and believe that Jesus himself, through the Spirit, is made present in their midst. As such, the church is both a sign and an anticipation of the fellowship between God and people with the forthcoming kingdom of God’ [page 14, emphasis added].
Hegstad’s thoughtful work addresses realistic concerns about the nature of church and fellowship, and is ideally suited to students or general readers.
About the Author: Harald Hegstad is a Norwegian Lutheran theologian. He is Professor of Systematic Theology at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo, Norway. His research in ecclesiology includes empirical studies as well as publications within systematic and practical theology.
About the publisher: James Clarke and Co Ltd is a long-established British academic publisher specialising in historical and theological books and also in reference material. It has been associated with the Lutterworth Press since 1984.