Sacramental Ontology and the Church of Diaspora

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Roland Spjuth


Sacramental theology is experiencing an ongoing renewal among theologians within churches that have been critical of sacramental traditions. Hans Boersma is one important representative of such a sacramental worldview. This article argues that before wholeheartedly accepting sacramental retrieval, it is important to listen to the concerns from theological traditions that have been critical of the sacramental life of established churches. In this article, I present two quite different examples: the sixteenth-century Anabaptist Pilgram Marpeck, and the liberation theologian Leonardo Boff and his ecclesiological thinking in the 1970s and 1980s. Both are highly critical of the focus on priestly actions and the model of Christendom as the context for the sacraments. From these two examples, I argue for a humble ontology that not just celebrates life as a gift, but also accepts creation’s ambiguity, and stresses God’s eschatological calling in judgement and transformation. A humbler ontology draws attention to those churchly actions that mediate the inbreaking of God’s kingdom.

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Author Biography

Roland Spjuth

Roland Spjuth is senior lecturer in Systematic Theology at Örebro School of Theology, Sweden.