Brunner sees St Paul's Epistle to the Romans as 'the chapter of destiny of the Christian Church'. Here, in Luther's words, is the 'purest gospel' upon which the very existence of the Christian faith depends and from which it draws its life. Concentrated, decisive and instructive, nothing within the New Testament is more closely argued both theological and personal. Out of his years of scholarly wisdom Brunner meditates on the great Question: What is wrong with the Churches? Brunner finds an answer in the contrast between the virile Spirit-filled fellowship of the New Testament and the institutions which are now called 'churches'. He writes in his preface: 'The title of the book, The Misunderstanding of the Church, is equivocal. Is it a question of a misunderstanding of which the Church is guilty, or of a misunderstanding of which it is the victim? Or is it that the Church itself, as such, is perhaps the product of a misunderstanding? The author is not responsible for this ambiguity; it is intrinsic in the theme itself.'
Dr. Brunner was made Privatdozent at the University of Zurich at the age of 33, and later was appointed Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology. In 1953 he became Professor of Christian University, Tokyo (Japan) and in 1955 returned to Zurich.
Contents: PREFACE 1 THE SUPERNATURAL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY AND THE PROBLEM OF THE CHURCH 2 THE HISTORICAL ORIGIN OF THE "ECCLESIA" 3 THE APOSTLES AND THE FELLOWSHIP 4 THE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP AND TRADITION 5 THE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP AND THE HOLY SPIRIT 6 THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IN ITS MESSIANIC ESCHATOLOGICAL CHARACTER 7 DIVINE SERVICE, THE LIFE OF THE "ECCLESIA" 8 THE STARTING POINT OF ECCLESIASTICAL DEVELOPMENT 9 THE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP AND THE RISE OF THE CHURCH 10 THE CHRIST-COMMUNITY AND THE CHURCHES OF HISTORY 11 THE TASK BEFORE THE CRURCHES - TO SERVE THE GROWTH OF THE "ECCLESIA" 12 THE SUMMING-UP; OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE Notes