Ruimte voor vrijheid. Een verheldering van de betekenis van 'vrijheid' in het kerkmodel van Hans Küng
Fijter, Arie Floris de
MetadataShow full item record
The object of this thesis is to clarify the meaning of the concept of freedom in the ecclesiology of the Swiss Roman Catholic theologian Hans Küng (1928-). To be able to make clear the relation of freedom and church in Küngs church model, we work out his ideas on freedom and his key notions of the church. Küng has a strong focus on modernity in much of his theological work. This is important for the understanding of the meaning of his ideas of freedom in his ecclesiology. Küng makes a strong case for a renewed relation of ‘church’ and ‘freedom’ to open up the church to modernity. In his lecture 'Kirche der Freiheit' (1964), Küngs basic assumption is that the ‘essence’ of church is freedom. This statement is found repeatedly in his work. With this assertion, Küng brings together concepts that are both central to Christianity and to modernity. But the problem is that in modern experience, church is often not linked with freedom. The claim of Melanchton that ‘libertas est christianismus’ seems heavily at odds with a modern understanding of both church and freedom. A modern concept of freedom is often described with notions like moral autonomy, individuality, self-determination, self-development. These notions do not seem to match easily with the meaning of tradition and authority in the church. It seems that, if the church is to be a place for freedom in modernity, the relation of church and freedom should be redefined in such at way that it does justice to both to the self-understanding of the church and its ideas of freedom ánd to modern ideas and experience of freedom. This is roughly what Küng wants to do. His agenda on the relation of church and freedom fits in Küngs wider program to open up the church to modernity, without selling the central ideas of Christianity. The key to such a kind of church renewal according to Küng is a renewed focus on the decisive key figure of Christianity: Jesus Christ. According to Küng, Jesus had a basic attitude that reflects a profound, unique and ‘contagious’ freedom. This attitude of Jesus should be reflected in the church’s basic structures and in the practices of the church. Any church renewal should correspond to both his attitude and teaching of the coming Kingdom of God and correspondingly to the New Testament teaching on the risen Christ.