With perceptive insight and vigor, Dr. Braaten addresses today's crisis in ministry in Protestant and Catholic communities. Numerous studies reveal widespread confusion about the nature and scope of the church's mission. There is a split consciousness in the church at all levels between evangelism and social action, and between lay and ordained forms of ministry.
The Apostolic Imperative summons the church to embody the apostolic norms of primitive Christianity in its theology and practice.
""A misinterpretation or neglect of the apostolic norms in the life of the church makes the church captive to narrow traditions or victim of fashionable trends,"" says Braaten.
""The aim of this book is to ground our theological thinking in the essentials of apostolic faith, its witness to the cross and resurrection of Jesus, and its obedience to his command to convey his message to all the world.""
The theology of mission in this book is biblically based, evangelically motivated, ecumenically oriented, and practically posed to grapple with the issues of the immediate future.
Carl Edward Braaten is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He served as a parish pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Messiah in Minneapolis from 1958 to 1961. From 1961 to 1991 Braaten served as a professor of systematic theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. In 1992, he founded (with Robert W. Jenson) the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology in Northfield, Minnesota. For fifteen years he served as the executive director of the Center, an ecumenical organization whose mission is to cultivate faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the churches, and also as the editor-in-chief of Pro Ecclesia, a journal of theology published by the Center.
Braaten has authored or edited more than fifty theological books, including Principles of Lutheran Theology (Fortress, 1983), The Future of God: The Revolutionary Dynamics of Hope (Harper & Row, 1969), Mother Church: Ecclesiology and Ecumenism (Fortress, 1998), Because of Christ: Memoirs of a Lutheran Theologian (Eerdmans, 2010), and Who Is Jesus? Disputed Questions and Answers (Eerdmans, 2011), as well as hundreds of articles and editorials in various academic journals.
Braaten was born on January 3, 1929, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He grew up on the island of Madagascar where his parents served as missionaries of the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America. He graduated from Augustana Academy, a Lutheran high school in Canton, South Dakota. He received degrees from St. Olaf College (BA), Luther Seminary (MDiv), and Harvard University Divinity School (ThD). In 1951 he was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Paris (Sorbonne), in 1957 a doctoral student at the University of Heidelberg where he wrote his dissertation, and in 1967 a Guggenheim Fellow at Oxford University.
In 1974 he spent a sabbatical making a worldwide lecture tour of various colleges and seminaries in Japan, China, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. This tour resulted in a book on the universal mission of the church entitled The Flaming Center (Fortress, 1977).
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