The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 18, 1998

Peter D. Browning
Pages 121-138

Church Talk in Christian Ethics
Lessons from the Writing of Tex Sample and Robert Wuthnow

Christian ethicists writing about the church need to take the contributions of sociology of religion more clearly into account when they develop their theories. Using the work of Tex Sample and Robert Wuthnow, the author criticizes the image of the church as "colony" adopted by Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, as well as the model of church as "discipleship of equals" supported by feminist biblical scholar Elisabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza. Neither model of the church attends adequately to various sociological realities in the church, in particular, to the influences of class and social location on church communities and their members.