Coalition - creation - church: In pursuit of a political ecclesiology

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Taking the recent UN Report about extreme poverty in the UK as a point of departure, this article analyses and assesses William Cavanaugh’s political ecclesiology. Drawing on the interpretation of Martin Luther’s concept of creation by Scandinavian Creation Theology, I argue that creation destabilises the distinction Cavanaugh draws between what he considers to be church and what he considers not to be church. I account for creation as a web of vulnerability in which all creatures are vulnerable to both creature and creator. In contrast to Cavanaugh’s strong and stable church, I advocate for what I call “coalitional church”: a church that can enter into coalitions with Christians and non-Christians in order to call for conditions under which vulnerable life is liveable. The public and political task of churches is not necessarily to fight the state, but to hold the state accountable to its citizens, whether they are Christian or non-Christian.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-178
Number of pages25
JournalStudia Theologica - Nordic Journal of Theology
Issue number2
Early online date18 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • church
  • state
  • Scandinavian creation theology
  • doctrine of the two kingdoms
  • William Cavanaugh
  • Martin Luther
  • Nikolaj F. S. Grundtvig
  • political theology


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