God of the Gospel, God of the Church: The Protestant Question of Divine Agency in the Life of the Church
This paper considers the role of the divine economy in the creation of the life of the church. It first assesses how the majority of recent accounts of the church focus on practice, ethnography and even management in a manner which accepts secular methodological naturalism. This has not only made the church comparable to any other organisation but has created a particular and unhelpful form of comparative ecumenics. However, the paper secondly considers the alternative: the direct creation of the church by God such that ecclesial agency fully corresponds with divine will and agency. This approach has made the failings of the church impossible to account for but also made a mockery of realistic ecumenical relations. In contrast to both of these, the Reformation inheritance of Leuenberg offers a meaningful and sensitive alternative which provides great promise for ecclesiology and ecumenical relations.