Wholl be a witness for my Lord? Witnessing as an Ecclesiological and Missiological paradigm

Andrew G. Suderman


The Christian churchs expansive zeal has often, throughout its history, walked hand-in-hand with the colonial pursuits of empires and nation-states. This cooperative approach between church and empire, which has been described as a Christendom or Constantinian paradigm, has not only implicated the church in the oppression and violent exploitation of people, but, because this paradigm has shaped the churchs ecclesial and missiological imagination, such violent and oppressive tendencies are perpetuated. This paper will argue that, in order to break free from such an understanding, we need to reimagine how we understand our ecclesial being and missional purpose. In remembering what it means to be witnesses of Jesus Christ in the early church, an understanding which, because of the lifestyle it required, was intimately connected with the very real possibility of becoming a martyr, we are challenged by this alternative paradigm to reimagine our ecclesial being and missional purpose. This alternative imagination, based on a self-sacrificial paradigm of power, changes the very nature and witness of the church and its mission.


power, witness, Christendom, Constantinianism, John Howard Yoder, William Cavanaugh, martyrdom

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7832/44-1-110


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