Religious Studies Faculty Publications

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Book Chapter

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The Household of God and Local Households


Is there an ideal Christian family, or indeed, is the term "family" even the best way to think about Christian life together, especially in relation to the term "domestic church"? When it comes to marriage and family, scholars writing about the concept of "domestic church" often do one of the following: (1) focus on Gen 1 and 2 as putting forth an ideal nuclear family; or (2) make family out to be a redeeming or eschatological vision on its own, in place of Jesus Christ. This is not a conservative or liberal problem, for people from across the spectrum make these kinds of intellectual moves, but they are very theologically problematic moves.

A focus on Gen 1 and/or 2 is a good place to begin, but often unduly suggest that family must mean husband/wife/children. Even theorists discussing gay marriage in the light of Gen 1 and 2 tend to discuss marriage in terms of the so-called nuclear family. Yet theologically, Gen 1 and 2 limit scholarship of marriage too much because they do not take into account Christ.

Chapter appears in The Household of God and Local Households, Thomas Knieps-Port Le Roi, et al. eds, (Leuven: Peeters, 2013).

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This chapter is provided for download in compliance with the publisher's policy on self-archiving and with the permission of the author. Permission documentation is on file. To order the entire volume, see the publisher's website.

The book is part of the series Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium.


Peeters Publishers