African News vom 01.03.2012
Michael Nausner has, in his »Kirchliches Leben in methodistischer Tradition« fourteen diverse essays on United Methodist ecclesiology in single very useful volume. Nausner identifies four foci in Methodist ecclesiology emerging in the last 50 years rather than any unity of theme or approach: pragmatism, the tension between evangelism and social action, the relationship to the wider church, and its global nature and aspiration in tension with actual regionalization. Virtually all of the essays reflect the tension observed by Albert Outler between Methodism as a movement within the church and Methodism as a church in its own right. This tension is played out in their treatment of ecumenical engagements, its constantly shifting hierarchical structures, its global identity, and the relation of its congregations to evangelism and social engagement. What most unifies the essays is their almost precipitous outward turning from the sacramental life of the church to the church in engagement with the world, an exception being Manfred Marquart's essay on the sacraments.
The book is divided into four parts; the first historical, the second relating to the church as a means of grace, the third with three diverse essays on theological conceptualizations of ecclesiology, and the forth focused on the relationship between ecclesiology and specific contexts.
In this last section are glimpses of the directions in which global Methodism may move in the future, given the rapid demographic shift among Methodists toward the global south. One would thus wish for Anglophone Methodists, particularly in the U.S., that this volume would thus quickly become available in English.
Robert Hunt (Religious Studies Review, vol 37, issue 2, June 2011)