Folkkyrkans kropp. Einar Billings folkkyrkoteologi ur postsekulärt perspektiv

  • Jan Eckerdal


This article is an examination of the specific folkchurch ecclesiology that is associated with Einar Billing. The analysis is done with the help of a perspective from outside the historically fairly insular folkchurch discussion; namely the postsecular perspective of the Anglican theologian Graham Ward. The investigation suggests that Billing’s theology can be interpreted as an attempt to produce a creative theological alternative, in the face of the fundamental challenge of theology that was significant for the contemporary modernistic debate at the beginning of the 20th century. With this alternative Billing aims beyond liberal efforts to adjust theology, as well as biblis- cistic blunt rejections of the critique. Central for this interpretation of Billing is the specific historical-dramatic concept of revelation that Billing develops. Futhermore, Billing’s folkchurch ecclesiology can be seen as an outcome of Billing’s answer to the modernistic critique. Billing’s folkchurch, which in a concrete way embraces all of reality parish by parish, is thus understood as the church that refused to accept to act only in the specific religious sphere that it was given by contemporary secular reason. For Billing’s folkchurch there is no “neutral” secular sphere without religious significance. However, in the light of Graham Ward’s body-of-Christ centred ecclesiology, some problematic aspects of this embracing of the whole of reality emerge. These problems are linked to the question of how Billing’s folkchurch is embodied in exactly that concrete world that it claims to embrace. Put as questions: Where is the body of Christ in the folkchurch? Which people embody the church? In order not to inherit the problems of a specific ecclesiology, these problems need to be acknowledged and addressed, by any church that stands in the tradition of Billing’s folkchurch.