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Church and Christ in the Work of Stanley Hauerwas

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image of Ecclesiology

Stanley Hauerwas has attracted much criticism for his ecclesiocentric approach to theology. As a result of his emphasis on the faithful practice of virtues in community for salvation, he has been accused of Pelagianism. He has also been charged with showing interest in Jesus primarily as an exemplar, rather than for himself. The adequacy of Hauerwas’ ecclesiology is tested here against its implications for Christology. Hauerwas conceives of Jesus primarily as the autobasileia, and emphasises the importance of his entire life and teachings in addition to his death and resurrection. Two questions concerning Hauerwas’ Christology are explored: (1) What did Christ achieve at the cross? (2) What constitutes salvation and how is it mediated to ensuing generations? This paper examines whether the church does indeed usurp the place of Christ in salvation in Hauerwas’ thought, as suggested by Healy.

Affiliations: 1: PhD Student, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford,


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