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Extra info for Artists, Citizens, Philosophers: Seeking the Peace of the City : An Anabaptist Theology of Culture

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Though particular streams in the history of the church can be of special help to us today, a Christian theology of culture today is broadly ecumenical. Even within the “Constantinian” stream of church history there are rich resources to use in constructing an alternative cultural vision. Though I believe a model of the church for our post-Constantinian age is best articulated by a “believers church” form of Christianity, we can only construct a vision of the Christian life from the resources of the whole church catholic.

The question confronting East German Christians was how a church can be faithful in the context of a Marxist society. While some North American theologians simply accepted the cold war rhetoric, which called for deliverance of East Germany from Communism by force of arms if necessary, the Swiss theologian, Karl Barth, took a different position. He urged East German Christians not to listen to the false prophets, like Hananiah of Jeremiah’s time, who looked for a quick restoration of the people and their institutions in Jerusalem.

Essential to the “Jeremiah and Diognetus Model,” as Hauerwas and Willimon have so eloquently stated, is that the church must be the church. Christian people must know who they are, witness to that truth, and live that truth in their daily lives. But I find missing from their position a positive vision for the church’s public witness of seeking the peace of the city. ”23 This statement reflects an either/or thinking that limits the power and significance of the church. The good news of the Christian faith engages the “powers and authorities,” the corporate structures that oppress and rob the poor and destroy the environment.

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