ABSTRACT

In a 2012 article on Bultmann and Augustine, R. W. L. Moberly argued that the church should be understood as a “plausibility structure” for faith and thus a presupposition for the interpretation of Scripture. My response to him in 2014 addressed misinterpretations of Bultmann but did not speak to the central issue of the church as a presupposition. This article rectifies that omission by interrogating the meaning of the church in the present discussion of “theological interpretation of Scripture,” which largely views the church as a distinct culture. The church-as-culture model bears an important resemblance to the church-as-Volk model that was dominant during the period of the church struggle in Germany in the 1930s. Bultmann developed his concept of the church as an eschatological community in direct contrast to the church-as-Volk idea. If the church is in some sense a presupposition for theological interpretation, then we first have to ask what we mean by “church,” and some answers to that question may be theologically problematic.

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