Vardagens kyrka: Gustaf Wingrens kyrkosyn och folkkyrkans framtid. Summary: A Church for Every Day: The Ecclesiology of Gustaf Wingren and the Future of the National Church (the "Folk Church")

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This thesis explores the ecclesiology of the Swedish theologian Gustaf Wingren and discusses the future of the "folk church". Three questions What, Who and Where is the Church? sustain the structure of this investigation. Wingren reflected on issues related to the openness and the identity of the church. His main concern was the interpretation the gospel as the liberating message to the guilt-ridden. For Wingren, the church is neither an institution, nor a communion of true believers. The gospel and the sacraments constitute the church. Wingren stressed the role of Christ's human nature. His main concern was to construct an ecclesiology appropriate to everyday life. Wingren asserts that the church must never be allowed to regard itself as a distinct community because the doctrine of creation recognises the presence of God everywhere and the gospel has a universal scope. There has been a broad agreement throughout the Church of Sweden that the church, even after disestablishment, ought to continue as a "folk church", but Swedish ecclesiology has also offered criticism of the "folk church" idea. The alternative advocated instead is the "communion-orientated" model. Recent criticism has found support in the trinitarian ecclesiology of communion. Developing models for the proper exercise of the priesthood of all believers, and for discovering ways to proclaim the gospel to everyone rather than forming tightly knit communities seem to be the most urgent task for an ecclesiology, based on the idea of the "folk church". Wingrens occupation with the Lutheran doctrine of vocation made it possible for him to concentrate on everyday life and to use the pattern of baptism to interpret the daily work. He applies the notion of justification by faith alone as a measuring rod for modern society. This enables him to offer a critical view of while avoiding the trap of moralism. A "folk church" can be regarded as nothing but the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Apart from in its social structure, the "folk church" does not differ in essence from other manifestations of the church. Provided the emphasis is not exclusively laid on the faith of its members, it would seem that there is some possibility for the "folk church" to survive. The church as an institution supporting its members may have a mission in the 21st century.


  • Bo Håkansson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Religions


  • systematisk och praktisk), History of the Christian church, Gustaf Wingren, Ecclesiology, National Churches, "Folk Church", Church as Communion, Church and Society, General, Kristen teologi (allmän, systematic and practical Christian theology, Kristna kyrkans historia
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2001 Dec 17
  • Arcus
Print ISBNs91-88552-37-3
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2001-12-17 Time: 14:00 Place: December 17, 2001, 2 p.m. Carolinasalen, Kungshuset, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Almén, Edgar Title: Doc Affiliation: Linköping --- The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Systematic Theology (015017071)