"The living church is to its forms of self-representation what a parasite is to its host. The orchid that blossoms will not have a 'presence' but for the tree that hosts it, yet it does not blossom because of the tree." This is how Vitor Westhelle begins his latest book, The Church Event: Call and Challenge of a Church Protestant, newly released by Fortress Press.
The church is an event that takes place and where church happens is inseparable from when it happens. How can we detect the signs of the living church and where does it take place? Westhelle's book throws light on these questions and opens up others to ponder.
"Westhelle attempts to map the church in terms of the End - the goal of Christian assembly.... He weaves all aspects of theology into his 'protesting' 'third space,' offering a challenging approach to church for all who care about it," said Dr. Timothy Wengert, Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor, Reformation History at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.
Dr. Nancy Elizabeth Bedford, Georgia Harkness Professor of Applied Theology at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, recommends The Church Event. "In his inimitably poetic and theologically incisive way, Westhelle puts before us paradoxes and the promises of the Church event - Protestant and otherwise. The beauty of the book's language appeals to our senses and the acuity of the analysis open up a glimpse of vistas too often passed over by ecclesiological reflections."
The Church Event: Call and Challenge of a Church Protestant is available at www.augsburgfortress.org/store for $20 plus shipping and handling. Enter "Westhelle" in the search box.
Westhelle joined LSTC's faculty in 1993 after teaching at Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary and Escola Superior de Teologia, Brazil. He was visiting professor at the University of Natal, South Africa, and the University of Aarhus, Denmark. He is a prolific writer and speaker with an international reputation. In addition to the eleven books which he wrote or co-edited, he has published more than 100 articles. His 2006 book, The Scandalous God: The Use and Abuse of the Cross, published by Fortress Press, has been turned into a SELECT course and been studied across the church by lay people, clergy, and scholars.
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.