Between Church and Society: (Re)Identifying the Role of the Holy Spirit in Protestant Higher Education

Introduction

In 1970, Hazel Barnes declared an end to a tumultuous time in higher education with the publication of The University as the New Church. In the introduction to her text, Barnes contended, “Criticism of the Church and of the University has been carried to the point of questioning whether the existence of either is still justified.”[0] Barnes argued that the nature of her questioning focuses on two fronts. First, both the Church and the university were challenged by their respective internal and external constituents to demonstrate their validity in terms of social relevance. Second, both the Church and the university were challenged by these same constituents to be agents for change in relation to the larger sociopolitical issues. Embedded in both of these challenges is the underlying standard of pragmatism—a standard which the Church both tried and failed to meet. Barnes subsequently proposed “that the University should become the new church. It is my conviction that it has long been functioning as a church, by which I mean that it has defined truth and human good and taught values as well as knowledge for many years and surreptitiously and without admitting the fact.”[1] One question remaining to be answered involves how an underlying theme of pragmatism could gain such a hold that Hazel Barnes could declare that the university had now become the new Church.

This declaration by Hazel Barnes did not come without an attempt by the Church in its Protestant manifestation to find its place within humanity’s pragmatic economy. By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church maintains a “sacramental vision [which] does not reduce divinity to pure immanence.”[2] Ironically, this effort on the part of the Protestant manifestations of the Church to demonstrate their relevance not only led to their irrelevance in society but also to the irrelevance of the institutions of higher education they sought to foster. Pragmatism, as an American embodiment of the aspirations of modernity, was initiated by a sense of separation between subject and object. Over time, the place of God as subject and humanity as object was reversed. This reversal led to the replacement of the economy of salvation initiated by God with the pragmatic economy initiated by humanity. These economies or structures of aspiration are not wholly indifferent to the ones Augustine described in relation to what he called the city of this world and the city of God.[3] However, the place where this sense of separation proved most evident was in relation to the Holy Spirit. The modern era has witnessed an understanding of this member of the Triune God being reduced from a place of divinity to a place of immanence, to a place of non-existence.[4] This paper employs elements from Reinhart Hütter’s discussion of the Holy Spirit in Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice as a means of recovering what is unique about Protestant higher education as it seeks to exist between Church and society.

Part I: Society and the Economy of Pragmatism    

A brief overview of how the economy of salvation was replaced by the economy of pragmatism offers a sense of context to the significance of Hütter’s work concerning the Holy Spirit. Hütter sought to recover a place and an understanding of the Holy Spirit in the midst of a larger post-Christian existence. In many ways, Hütter was not alone in this concern. In Infinity and Perspective, Karsten Harries contended “that our modern culture can only be understood as a post-Christian phenomenon.”[5] For Harries, like Hütter, evidence of this phenomenon is present in the “confidence in the human ability to seize or at least approximate the truth, a faith in our cognitive faculties that counteracts the cognitive resignation that issues from meditations on the infinity of God.”[6] This expansion of human confidence also detached the human individual from two larger contexts: the context of the human community and the context of the community established by the meditating presence of the Holy Spirit.

While Karsten Harries referred to this process as a revolution, he acknowledged that the detachment of the singular individual occurred gradually over the course of the rise of the modern era. Arguably, this process began with the work of figures as far back as Francis of Assisi, William Ockham, and John Duns Scotus. [7] However, this movement began most formally with the assertions found in the work of René Descartes. In his Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes contended, “Here I find: it is cognition; this alone cannot be rent from me. I am, I exist; it is certain.”[8] With these words and their widespread influence, the individual became the center of experience. Prior to this point, the individual was perceived to be defined by the participatory presence he or she shared with the Holy Spirit. However, this participatory presence was not something he or she shared alone. By contrast, the Holy Spirit related to the Church and to its members who persist together as the body of Christ. While modern human beings find no great significance in the declaration of the certainty of their own existence, such a declaration was a radical break from their premodern predecessors who perceived their identity to be inextricably tied to the economy of salvation.

However, this initial distinction concerning the human individual would eventually prove to be insufficient in terms of the developing aspirations of modernity. As a result, Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason continued to build upon Descartes’ legacy. Descartes’ work furnished modernity “with a paradigm that awaits ever more adequate appropriation, presenting us, and especially scientists, with a still continuing challenge.”[9] This challenge relates to the notion of freeing individuals from their prejudices and perspectives. More pointedly, this challenge relates to transforming the self-positing individual into a truly transcendental subject. Once awoken from his dogmatic slumber, Kant responded to this challenge and was able to apply the term “transcendental to all knowledge which is not so much occupied with objects as with the mode of our cognition of these objects, so far as the mode of cognition is possible a priori.”[10]   For Kant, this mode of cognition is possible a priori by virtue of the subject’s ability to appeal what Kant called pure practical reason. In Kant’s division of the parts of science, pure practical reason relates to one’s will and to impending spiritual or moral imperatives. By contrast, pure theoretical reason relates to matters of cognition and to reflections made concerning the realm of nature. The subject comes to interpret the divergent relationships it shares with the demands of the economy of salvation and the developing economy of pragmatism.

Kant’s distinction between subject and object proved to be a challenge to his successors. In particular, G.W.F. Hegel was not essentially opposed to Descartes’ self-positing individual. However, he was concerned with Kant’s distinction between subject and object. In the Phenomenology of Spirit, the essential component in this work by which the separation of subject and object are overcome proves to be the progress of self-consciousness. Early on in his metaphysical system, Hegel acknowledged, “Consciousness, as self-consciousness, henceforth has a double object: one is the immediate object, that of sense certainty and perception . . . and the second, viz itself, which is the true essence, and is present in the first instance only as opposed to the first object.”[11] However, the problem which emerged in Hegel’s system is that he essentially collapsed Kant’s categories of pure theoretical and pure practical reason into simply pure theoretical reason. As a result, divinity becomes equated with immanence as manifested in the consciousness of human existence.[12] With Hegel, “Reason becomes Spirit when it achieves the full consciousness of itself in all reality.”[13]

Hegel continued this line of thought in his Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion where he claimed in relation to the Religion of the Spirit:

This presupposition implies it is certain that the reconciliation has been accomplished, i.e., it must be represented as something historical, as something which has been accomplished on the earth, in a manifested form. For there is no other mode of representing what is called certainty. This is the presupposition in which we must believe to begin with.[14]

Prior to Kant, the Holy Spirit was perceived to be present in the realm of the finite. However, activity in this realm was not perceived to preclude the presence of the Holy Spirit from a realm that knew no distinction between nature and pure nature. Hegel confines the presence of the Holy Spirit or simply the Spirit to the realm of the immanent. In addition, this certainty for Hegel concerning the objects constituting the finite realm is found in relation to the individual human subject.

In American pragmatism, the transition from an economy of salvation initiated by God to an economy of pragmatism initiated by humanity becomes complete. In John Dewey, pragmatism arguably found its most influential advocate. Dewey’s work provides evidence to the failure of the Hegelian synthesis of subject and object while also pointing to Hegel’s collapse of Kant’s pure theoretical and pure practical forms of reason. In A Common Faith Dewey sought to define religion by reducing it to what he perceived to be its essence. However, this process of reduction invariably led to religion being equated with the object of a respective subject. In relation to religion, Dewey claimed, “Nothing less than a revolution in the ‘seat of intellectual authority’ has taken place.”[15]

Prior to this remark concerning a revolution in the seat of intellectual authority, Dewey offered that the means of inquiry definitive of a host of the university’s academic disciplines, particularly anthropology, biology, geology, history, literary criticism, and psychology, have made inroads concerning what had now become religious truth. In a manner reminiscent of Hegel, Dewey argued God’s presence was vested in “the reality of ideal ends as ideals is vouched for by the undeniable power in action.”[16] Dewey believed the outcome for his understanding of religion “will not be a gospel of salvation but it will be in line with that pursued, for example, in matters of disease and health.”[17] In addition, such determinations concerning the immanent nature of the usefulness of religion were determined by the atomistic individual. The eclipse of the economy of salvation was now complete. The path was set for the university to become the new Church. Through the work of John Dewey, the free subject now found a place for religion as a useful object within its economy of pragmatism. In addition, Hazel Barnes’ assertion concerning the university as society’s new Church not only seems plausible but necessary.

However, recent philosophical and theological reflection has demonstrated the instability of separating the free subject from its object. In Being and Time, Martin Heidegger cautioned his audience that being always finds itself simultaneously ahead of itself while also being behind itself. Converging in an ever-escaping present, an inextricable arrangement of past experiences and future expectations come together to form an understanding of human existence.[18] The transcendental aspirations of Kant’s free subject find’s itself mired in how past experiences impinge upon future expectations. While Heidegger’s sense of being was arguably immanent and individualistic in nature, John D. Zizioulas argued “that man’s capacity and incapacity can be properly discussed only if man is approached as an identifiable being which can be grasped only by being put in the light of his ability to relate to extra-human realities.”[19] For Zizioulas, these extra-human realities point to the mediating presence of the Holy Spirit through the Church. The arbitrary nature of the individual will is brought into perfect freedom in the communion shared with God and with fellow human individuals. As an exploration of Reinhart Hütter’s work demonstrates, the mediating presence of the Holy Spirit through the Church stands as the difference between existence in the economy of pragmatism established by humanity and existence in the economy of salvation established by God.

Part II: The Church and the Economy of Salvation

Reinhart Hütter’s Suffering Divine Things offers the Church, and eventually the institutions of higher education the Church chose to foster, with a means of recovering the sense of significance vested within them by the mediating presence of the Holy Spirit. In defiance of the economy of pragmatism established by humanity, Hütter found favor with George Lindbeck’s proposal in The Nature of Doctrine that “Religious communities are likely to be practically relevant in the long run to the degree that they do not first ask what is either practical or relevant, but instead concentrate on their own intratextual outlooks and forms of life.”[20] For Hütter, the Church has chosen to answer the question about what is either practical or relevant by depending upon reason, inwardness, and/or activism as the first premise of its existence.[21] While these three functions prove important, their existence as a first premise leaves the Church as simply another competitor within the economy of pragmatism. As a result, Hütter initially sided with Lindbeck’s assertion that the first premise of the Church’s existence is to exercise the practices which make it distinct. However, Hütter contended that Lindbeck’s understanding of the Church “implies a practice of theological discourse which in its own turn presupposes the church with its concrete configurations of language and activities and church doctrine as its inherent actualization.”[22] For Hütter, this process of actualization is vested in the mediating presence of the Holy Spirit.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church for Hütter is brought to light through four particular concepts that form what he called his heuristic conceptual framework. While these terms are the product of a process of historical recovery, they provide the foundation for a systematic form of expression. The first term Hütter sought to recover was pathos. While Aristotle and Heidegger both provided vantage points for Hütter in his effort to identify the essential meaning of pathos, he also claimed he wanted to find a sense of meaning that transcended their respective metaphysical and ontological projects. As a result, pathos came to be understood in the context of this project in reference “to ‘the other’ of action, that which determines or defines a person prior to all action, in all action, and against all action, that which only a person can receive.”[23] In essence, pathos is defined by one’s surrender to God and God’s gift of faith. God’s activity comes to determine individuals who participated in this surrender while also creating “them as both creature and new creation.”[24] As a result, pathos attunes individuals to the subject to which they have resigned themselves. In the scope of Hütter’s project, pathos relates to the suffering of divine things.

Pathos, or the suffering of divine things, corresponds to Hütter’s definition of his second term poiesis. Previous references to poiesis include Plato’s usage of this term in relation to natural and artificial forms of production. Natural production relates to the divine or that which is ascribed to nature. By contrast, human production relates to that which humans demand or produce from nature. Essential to these definitions is the distinction between ancient and modern forms of technology. For example, ancient technology or technē is defined by the natural manner in which one draws a new creation out of his or her original material. In turn, modern technology is defined by the artificial manner in which one harnesses, stores, and disperses the power of nature. For Hütter, the Holy Spirit operates within the human condition in a manner similar to natural production and ancient technology. The Holy Spirit does not seek to harness human potential. Instead, the Holy Spirit draws out the potential of individuals previously surrendered to God. Accordingly, Hütter’s notion of poiesis stands in stark contrast to a notion of autopoeisis that finds itself embedded in the distinction of subject from object and humanity’s economy of pragmatism. Pathos, poiesis, and eventually praxis and practice make it possible for humanity to participate in God’s economy of salvation.

Finally, praxis and practice are the final terms Hütter sought to recover in his effort to establish his systematic understanding of the significance of the Holy Spirit. These terms are best understood by virtue of the similarities and the distinctions which they share. Hütter depends upon Alasdair MacIntyre’s reading of Aristotle to aid in this effort. Whereas praxis refers to a simple doing or set of acts, “‘practicerefers to distinct, describable, and meaningful contexts of action that are cooperatively and implicitly ordered and regulated.[25] However, these distinctions only begin to point to Hütter’s intention of recovering an understanding of praxis that is not juxtaposed in the Aristotelian sense to theoria. By contrast, the Christian faith is understood as:

a bios that rather than appearing in an abstract sense is grounded in and bound to specific activities of actualization; so also, then, must theology itself be understood as a specific activity inhering in precisely this bios of faith.[26]

Hütter contended, “These practices are grounded in a distinct bios; that is, they are activities of actualization inhering in quite distinct comprehensive practice.”[27] In a general sense, this distinct bios is found within the context of the Church. The specific activities of actualization involve the sacraments or ordinances which constitute the Church’s very existence. However, this bios, made possible by the poiesis of the Holy Spirit, is not something individuals experience as singular entities. By contrast, each person experiences this bios by being in communion as a member of the body of Christ.

As a specific polis or body politic, the body of Christ is constituted by the poiesis of the Holy Spirit. While the intention of this particular discussion is to focus on the significance of the Holy Spirit, one cannot speak of the Holy Spirit without speaking of the Father and the Son. Reference to one member of the Trinity immediately implies the presence of the other two members. As a result, “The pathos of life then means participation in the Spirit in God’s triune life, that is, in the pathos constituting the love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”[28] The Father’s own creative initiative in relation to humanity is qualified by the Son in the mediating presence of the Holy Spirit. Essential to this sense of participation is the praxis of the sacraments or ordinances and the development of doctrine within the larger practice of the Church. For example, the meal of the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper, was established by the Son on behalf of the Father. Through this meal and the establishment of binding theological truths, the poiesis of the Holy Spirit draws humanity into communion together as the body of Christ and into the economy of salvation.   

The presence of humanity in God’s economy of salvation is formed ever anew by the praxis of events such as the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper, within the larger practice of the Church. Hütter contended that “If the activity of the Holy Spirit were completely separated from these forms, the Lordship of the Holy Spirit would be a vacuum to be filled with all sorts of projects and projections.”[29] The establishment of a pragmatic economy is an example within the American context of how the free subject even transformed religion into a useful object. However, what proves to be useful in this economy to one individual perhaps proves to be useless to the next. Freedom is lost in the arbitrary nature of the human will. By contrast, while the economy of salvation is not initially useful to the body of Christ, it does provide true freedom. “Only in the Holy Spirit and its genuine poiesis of communion does theology as a church practice participate in God’s liberum arbitrium.”[30]  

While the human subject within the economy of pragmatism lives under the perception that he or she is free, the poiesis of the Holy Spirit proves to be the only source of perfect freedom. Borrowing from Luther, Hütter contended that the only form of perfect freedom is participation in the freedom established by God’s will. An existence apart from this sense of freedom is an existence lived in bondage to the whims of each individual. Within the economy of salvation established by God, the Church is formed by God’s perfect freedom. The sending forth is the Church’s way of seeking to extend this freedom and its practice of theology to all of creation. Members of the body of Christ extend the actualization of God’s economy of salvation into the larger public. At times, this sense of actualization is established through the forms of interaction facilitated by individual members of the Church. At other times, this sense of actualization is conducted in orchestrated ways through the establishment of institutions. These institutions serve the Church by seeking to extend the economy of salvation in specialized ways. This discussion will now return to the Protestant university and seek to understand its nature and its place as one of these institutions.          

Part III: The Protestant University’s Participation in the Economy of Salvation    

An extension of Hütter’s argument would support the contention that the university inevitably becomes the new Church when the university exists within the pragmatic economy of humanity. Ironically, Hütter’s argument would also support the contention that the university becomes an institution of the Church and eventually a servant to society when it seeks to understand itself as a means of extending God’s economy of salvation. While Hütter does briefly speak of theology as a university discipline, the ensuing discussion broadens his effort to a brief conceptualization of the university. The university of the economy of pragmatism, or the modern university, is charged with the task of generating and disseminating knowledge in a useful manner for the larger society.[31] By contrast, the university of the economy of salvation, or the Protestant university, is charged with the mission of forming students with the sensibilities they need to persist in faith amongst God’s deepest mysteries. By virtue of the university’s commitment as an institution of the Church, this persistence is not lived out in individual isolation. This virtue of persistence is lived out amongst fellow servant leaders who seek to meet the needs of the larger society.

As previously stated, the modern university is charged with the task of generating and disseminating knowledge in a useful manner for the larger society. In The Idea of the University: A Reexamination, Jaroslav Pelikan distilled this charge into the tasks of research, teaching, and service. While Pelikan’s text is a reexamination of John Henry Newman’s The Idea of a University, Pelikan also asserted that “the crisis in humanistic education at the university and the larger issues of the century in society as a whole do meet, but whether for deeper benefit or for even more bitter disappointments is by no means clear.”[32] Despite Pelikan’s deep concern for the university, he was unable to wrest from the center of the university’s existence the modern subject or the subject of autopoeisis. Ironically, Newman’s apologetic tone in various ways prohibits him from the same accomplishment.[33] The underlying issue is that the tasks of the university lack connection to any larger metaphysical aspirations. While the university is undoubtedly charged with the tasks of teaching, research, and service, these tasks only make sense to the Protestant university when they are placed within the context of its mission. This mission, to form students in the sensibilities needed to allow them to persist in faith amongst God’s deepest mysteries, seeks to place the poiesis of the Holy Spirit at the center of the university’s existence.

Prior to any brief effort to reconceptualize the tasks of the Protestant university, an understanding of the significance of common worship as an extension of the life of the Church into the life of this university needs to be developed. Extending the nature of Hütter’s argument, common worship is the practice which seeks to place the poiesis of the Holy Spirit at the center of the university’s existence. The university does not gather in this sense as a means of constituting itself as the new Church. By contrast, the university gathers to remember the sense of constitution the Holy Spirit affords to it as a university community that seeks to stand as an institution of the Church. This event places the university’s tasks of research, teaching, and service in God’s economy of salvation. Within the economy of salvation, these tasks become extensions of the theological practice of the Church. The pathos of the human individual, whether he or she is a student, a professor, a staff member, or an administrator at the university, prompts them to participate in common worship. Through the praxis of the sacraments or the ordinances, the presence of the Holy Spirit transforms the guiding sensibility of this community from one of autopoiesis to one of poiesis. To a university constituted by the poiesis of the Holy Spirit, God’s economy of salvation becomes the context of its very existence. As a community called out of the body of Christ, the university now goes forward to perform the theological tasks of teaching, research, and service within the larger aspiration of forming students with the sensibilities they need to persist in faith amongst God’s deepest mysteries. Through efforts to meet these theological tasks, the poiesis of the Holy Spirit collapses the false distinction between nature and pure nature as well as the false distinction between the individual and the community.

Research in the Protestant university is not a matter of the production of truth by the human subject but the drawing forth of truth by the Holy Spirit.   As previously stated, John Dewey contended the future of the gospel “will not be a gospel of salvation but it will be in line with that pursued, for example, in matters of disease and health.”[34] As a result, research in line with this aspiration, even research concerning religious matters, finds the free subject seeking to identify empirically verifiable results which prove to be useful. By contrast, the Protestant university does not limit its inquiry to the useful and to the empirically verifiable. The poiesis of the Holy Spirit establishes a new horizon of possibility for research. In The Mystery of the Supernatural, Henri de Lubac contended, “In the gift of himself that God wills to make, everything is explained—in so far as it can be explained—by love, everything, hence including the consequent ‘desire’ in our nature, in whatever we understand that desire.”[35] This gift, as embodied by the Holy Spirit, seeks to offer the fullness of reality to the scrutiny of research. The subject in such a process is not the human individual as subject. By contrast, the subject is the Holy Spirit seeking to draw forward truths through human objects. As a result, research becomes as much an act of resignation as an act of pursuit. The resolution of the tension between resignation and pursuit by the poiesis of the Holy Spirit is the means by which the mysterious horizon of possibility of university research becomes one which knows no distinction between nature and pure nature.

In a similar manner, the poiesis of the Holy Spirit removes the distinction previously made between the individual and the community. While the Holy Spirit undoubtedly persists in the lives of individuals, the actions of these individuals are not seen as being privileged by comparison to the actions of the community. In addition, the actions of these individuals are only seen as being comprehendible when they are projected against the context of the community. The poiesis of the Holy Spirit finds its initial object in the body of Christ. In Being as Communion, John D. Zizioulas contended, “Thus the mystery of the Church has its birth in the entire economy of the Trinity in a pneumatologically constituted manner.”[36] The object of constitution is the gathered community, not the singular individual. However, research in the modern university is an individual endeavor, or at best a collaborative endeavor, based upon individual credentials. By contrast, research in the Protestant university is a communal endeavor by virtue of the poiesis of the Holy Spirit. Truth is suspended in a mysterious realm which knows no distinction between nature and pure nature. While God wills to make everything explainable that is explainable, the will of God is not intended to be explainable to singular individuals. This intention is revealed to the diverse set of members that comprise the body of Christ. The participatory perspective of each individual contributes to the ability of this extension of the body of Christ to receive that which God seeks to make explainable. As a result, research becomes a communal endeavor. Individuals, from their diverse perspectives, gather together in venues ranging from laboratories to libraries to participate in the poiesis of the Holy Spirit.

As a theological task of the Protestant university, teaching also finds itself under the influence of the poiesis of the Holy Spirit. Currently, teaching in the modern university is perceived to be vested in the ability of a singular expert to transmit useful information to an assembly of individual students. Ironically, this very perception of teaching is what has allowed this task within the modern university to be communicated in a virtual manner. Individual students may receive almost any form of useful information through the internet. However, the ability of the poiesis of the Holy Spirit to remove the distinction between nature and pure nature cannot be communicated in a virtual manner or even through a singular expert transmitting useful information to an assembly of students. This process happens amongst the gathering of students and faculty members. The notion of gathering is important for the very reason that Henri de Lubac reminded his audience that the body of Christ waits upon the Lord as nature and pure nature.[37] However, what makes the specific faculty member significant in this process is that he or she has persisted in the discipline of waiting and established the virtue of patience. As a result, he or she is now in a position to form his or her students in the discipline of waiting by virtue of his or her own transparent example. The theological task of teaching commences when students begin to resign themselves to the mysterious reality that learning engenders within them a more acute awareness of their own ignorance as they stand before the full mystery of God.

The sense of acute awareness of human ignorance prompted by the theological task of teaching is not intended to be accomplished through the poiesis of the Holy Spirit in relation to an individual student. By its nature, teaching is a communal endeavor. The poiesis of the Holy Spirit is not a singular form of communication flowing from the teacher to the student. While the teacher embodies the patience which the body of Christ must exhibit in waiting upon the Lord, the poiesis of the Holy Spirit works through all gathered members of the class. Students offer one another a tremendous resource in terms of learning when they also offer one another transparent models of what it means to wait upon the Lord. In relation to the Church, John D. Zizioulas contended that “The objectivization and individualization of historical existence which implies distance, decay and death is transformed into existence in communion, and hence eternal life for all mankind and creation.”[38] In a similar manner, the poiesis of the Holy Spirit transforms teaching from an experience where students learn to manipulate objects for their own advantage to an experience where students learn to draw near to one another and to the most mysterious realities of life.

Finally, the Protestant university is also committed to the theological task of service. The exercise of this task is the third way the university seeks to discharge its mission of forming students in the habits they need to peaceably persist in faith amongst God’s deepest mysteries. The Protestant university exists as an institution of the Church. However, the university also actively seeks to extend the reach of the Church’s economy of salvation further and further into the larger economy of pragmatism. As Augustine wrote in the City of God, “One of these is the City of God, the other the city of this world; and God’s City lives in this world’s city as far as its human element is concerned; but it lives there as an alien sojourner.”[39] The Protestant university is an institution established by the City of God. However, like the Church, the Protestant university lives in the city of this world. Through teaching and research, the university comes together in different ways under the poiesis of the Holy Spirit. These communal experiences bring to light the false distinctions that persist between the natural and the pure natural along with the individual and the community. While daunting, the communal dimension of the university provides the context that proves necessary to the formation of students in the habits needed for a lifetime of faithful persistence. The charge to extend the reach of the Church’s economy of salvation into humanity’s economy of pragmatism is found in the theological task of service.

As an institution of the Church, the university finds its identity in the Holy Spirit’s constitution of the Church. The university’s existence is one lived between the Church and society. By their very nature, the lessons learned through common worship, research, and teaching are meant to be shared with others. The collapsing of the distinctions of nature and pure nature charges the university with finding ways to regain the sense of wonder consumed by humanity. The collapsing of distinctions between individual and community charges the university with finding ways to help all people to understand that their essence is found in their creation in the image of God. These gifts, as a product of the economy of God’s salvation, place a burden of service upon all who receive them. This burden is no greater than the burden the Son willing carried on behalf of the Father. Like the theological tasks of common worship, teaching, and research, the burden of the task of service is carried only by the sustaining poiesis of the Holy Spirit.                      

Conclusion

Reinhart Hütter’s Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice not only lends a contextual sense of understanding to Hazel Barnes claim pertaining to the university as the new Church, it also serves as a means of recovering what is unique about Protestant higher education as it seeks to exist between Church and society. The claim of the university as the new Church is plausible in a world where humanity has displaced God as subject leaving God to only become object. Such a transition is evident in the works of figures such as Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and Dewey. By contrast, Hütter’s recovery of the significance of pathos, poiesis, and praxis/practice within the Church returns humanity to its rightful place as the object of God. In particular, the university’s existence as an institution of the Church is made possible by the poiesis of the Holy Spirit. Within the economy of God’s salvation, the mission of the university is to form students in the sensibilities needed to allow them, as well as others, to peaceably persist in faith amongst God’s deepest mysteries. As a result, while worship, research, teaching, and service are theological tasks of the Protestant university, they are now seen within the realm of theological practice. The question remaining for Protestant educators is whether they can make the converse turn Hazel Barnes attempted to make—a turn that allows for a new relationship to exist between the Church, the Protestant university, and society.

References   

[0] Hazel Barnes. The University as the New Church. (London, UK: Alden Press, 1970). p. 1

[1]Hazel Barnes. The University as the New Church. p. 35.

[2]Mark W. Roche. “The Intellectual Appeal of Roman Catholicism” in The Future of Religious Colleges, ed. Paul J.

Dovre (Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishiing Company, 2002). p 173.

[3] Augustine. The City of God, trans. by Henry Bettenson (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1984).

[4] Eugene F. Rogers. “The Mystery of the Spirit in Three Traditions: Calvin, Rahner, Florensky or, You Keep

   Wondering Where the Spirit Went” in Modern Theology 19:2, April 2003.

[5] Karsten Harries. Infinity and Perspective (Cambridge, MA/London, UK: The MIT Press, 2001). p. 128.

[6] Karsten Harries. Infinity and Perspective. p. 129.

[7] Alex Dupré. Passage to Modernity: An Essay in the Hermaneutics of Nature and Culture. New Haven,

CN/London, UK: Yale University Press, 1993.

[8] René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, ed. and trans. George Heffernan (Notre Dame, IN: University of

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[9] Karsten Harries. Infinity and Perspective. p. 302.

[10] Immanuel Kant. Critique of Pure Reason. J.M.D. Meiklejohn, trans. (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1990).

   p. 6.

[11] G.W.F. Hegel. Phenomenology of Spirit. A.V. Miller, trans. (New York, NY/Oxford, UK: Oxford University

   Press, 1977). p. 105.

[12] John Milbank. The Word Made Strange: Theology, Language, and Culture (Malden, MA/Oxford, UK: Blackwell

    Publishers, 1997). p. 180.

[13] G.W.F. Hegel. Phenomenology of Spirit. P. 550.

[14] G.W.F. Hegel. Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, Volume III. E.B. Speirs, trans. New York, NY: The

    Humanities Press/London, UK: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1974). Pp. 109-110.    

[15] John Dewey. A Common Faith (New Haven, CN/London, UK: Yale University Press, 1962). pp. 31-32.

[16] John Dewey. A Common Faith. p. 43.

[17] John Dewey. A Common Faith. p. 77.

[18] Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, Joan Stambaugh, trans. (Albany, NY: State University Press of New York:

    1996).

[19] J.D. Zizioulas. “Human Capacity and Human Incapacity: A Theological Exploration of Personhood” in Scottish

Journal of Theology 28:1, p. 402.

[20] George A. Lindbeck. The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Society (Louisville, KY:

   Westminster/John Knox Press, 1984). p. 128.

[21] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice (Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge, MA:

    William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000). P. 11.

[22] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. p. 68.

[23] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. p. 30.

[24] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. p. 31.

[25] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. p. 36.

[26] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. p. 37.

[27] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. p. 37.

[28] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. p. 117.

[29] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. p. 127.

[30] Reinhart Hütter. Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. p. 157.

[31] Jaroslav Pelikan. The Idea of the University: A Reexamination (New Haven, CN/London, UK: Yale University

   Press, 1992).

[32] Jaroslav Pelikan. The Idea of the University: A Reexamination. pp. 18-19.

[33] John Henry Newman. The Idea of a University.

[34] John Dewey. A Common Faith. p. 77.

[35] Henri de Lubac. The Mystery of the Supernatural (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company): p. 229.

[36] John D. Zizioulas. Being as Communion (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985): p. 112.

[37] Henri de Lubac. The Mystery of the Supernatural (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company): p. 224.

[38] John D. Zizioulas. Being as Communion (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985): p. 112.

[39] Augustine. The City of God, p. 761.

Emerging Church Economics

There are too many errors in this book for unsophisticated readers. McLaren’s book has value only to readers who recognize the mistakes but are willing to learn about a position that springs from ideology and a theological framework. For me, the emerging church movement is enough to consider by itself without flawed economics intertwined

Mordecai Kaplan: Rethinking Judaism for the New World

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