Postfoundational Theology | A Three-Foci Expression

Beyond Foundationalism P194 (1)Grenz and Franke also talk about three distinctive foci that are important components of the missional, postfoundational church.

The first focus is the Trinitarian Structure of the church. The importance of the the social Trinity cannot be underemphasized here. It is only through the relationality of God’s three-in-oneness that the postfoundationalist theological conversation can exist. Without it, Kelsey and Keifert would remain constrained in the same historical reductionism that Hegel, Heideggar, and the Frankfurt school found itself. Simpson would also be trapped in Tillich’s correlational reductionism and the ultimate relativism that Habermas’ ethic perpetuates.[1] The Trinitarian God is at work in the world, calling the church to be gathered around the risen Jesus, to bring doxa to the Father.

The second focus is that of the church’s Communitarian expression. Constituted by the community of God, the church is by nature a community of particularities in relational, ontological interdependence, not a mechanistic organization created to produce a product to be consumed on the open market.

The third focus is the church’s Eschatological direction. Both Kiefert and Simpson argue that it is the present hope that is created by the vision of a preferred future that allows the church—thus the theological process—to move forward while holding dualistic tension within a frame provisional truth.[2] God is creating, not from the past toward the future, but as futurity—engulfed in promise—as the narrative evolves and God works in, with, under, against, and through the church to fulfill God’s preferred and promised future.[3]


[1] Arens helps us understand that the communicative praxis of the Father, Son, and the Spirit is that which allows the church to be the prophetic voice of God in the world, while not seeking to extract itself from the world. The church is a community of communio with God, itself, and the world. Edmund Arens, Christopraxis: A Theology of Action, 1st Fortress Press ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995), 156. Michael Welker also helps us see the polycentric and pluriform nature of the Holy Spirit that permeates, but is not equated with or lost among, the various cultures of the world. Michael Welker, God the Spirit, 1st English-language ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994).

[2] I will explore this further in the next section.

[3] See Jürgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God, 1st HarperCollins paperback ed. (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991); Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991); Robert W. Jenson, The Triune Identity: God According to the Gospel (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982); Robert W. Jenson, Systematic Theology, 2 vols., vol. 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).