Church as Institution and Church as Mystical Communion
In 1974 Dulles published Models of the Church to address questions concerning ecclesiology-the study of the church. Many people believe that they know the meaning of the church, which is a place to become closer to God. However, there is more than what meets the eye when it comes to the Church, since it is a very complex organization. Dulles' book identifies and describes the different functions the Church possesses which Jesus Christ founded and continues to oversee today. He categorizes the models into five aspects: Church as institution, Church as mystical communion, Church as sacrament, Church as herald, Church as servant, and lastly his new model Church as community. In this paper, I am going to discuss the similarities as well as the differences between Church as Institution and Church as mystical communion. The both models discuss the people who make up the church-this can be noted as a contrast between them as it will further be discussed in my paper- and they both have similar yet different forms of organizational skills that I will go into further detail as I discuss each model in depth. In order for you to understand what these models stand for I will begin my paper explaining in detail what each model stands for as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, I will discuss why Church as Mystical Communion is more persuasive model for the 21st century. According to Dulles, Church as Institution “defines the Church primarily in terms of its visible structures, especially the rights and powers of its officers” (Dulles, 34). The function of the church is hierarchical, which means that the rich and powerful have the most control over the church. There are two meaning of the word “institution” which is institution vs. institutionalism, which is very critical to understand when discussing this model. Institution as just mentioned is about the hierarchy the way it is organized, institutionalism is...
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