Confessional and ecumenical? : revisiting Edmund Schlink on the hermeneutics of doctrine
Conrad Wethmar has always been interested in questions concerning the hermeneutics of doctrine, often concentrating on methodological issues regarding the role of confessions and the challenges of ecumenical theology. For this purpose, he consistently engaged with German-speaking Lutheran theologians. In this essay, the important views and contributions of Edmund Schlink regarding confessional and ecumenical theology are called to mind, as one further potential dialogue partner for South African theologians like Wethmar. A first section reminds readers of Wethmar’s contributions. The second section recalls Schlink’s theological journey and the role of confessions – both Lutheran confessions and the Confessing Church with Barmen – as well as the ecumenical church – several real dialogues between major confessional traditions, including his role during the Second Vatican Council – before the third sections draws some of his major methodological insights and contributions together. A brief final section points to some potential similarities between Schlink’s work and Wethmar’s interests.