Dombois, H.

The Church as koinonia and Institution

Genre: Literatuur




The Church as koinonia and Institution

(Translated  from the German by E.M. Evans)


A double characteristic of churches constitutes the occasion for our inquiry. In the first place, in all churches there are organizations and administrations which are purely functional. They were not appointed by God: they were created by man, in order to fulfill the tasks of the Church. They can therefore be altered at will, if they no longer perform these tasks. If we alter them, however, we are obliged to replace them with other forms of equal importance. They are therefore indispensable. They spring from a need, a lack, a necessity. Because they are indispensable, these organizations acquire considerable importance of their own, and this may prove an obstacle to the Church’s life, its unity, and its vitality; for these institutions combine with the human capacity for conservatism (vis inertiae) and self-assertion.

Second, over against these pragmatic, modifiable, but indispensable organizations, all churches also possess forms in which they express some of the essentials of their faith and theology. These forms are derived by the churches from the Bible — for example, the ministry, the synod, the congregation. The Church


thinks it cannot renounce these forms without being disloyal to its task.

In accordance with current ecumenical terminology, these two kinds of structural elements may be designated as the “order” and the “organization” of the Church.1 Both are manifestations of the institutional structure of the Christian community. It will be the task of this essay to examine what these two institutional forms signify for the Church, and how they are related to each other. To do this it will be instructive to analyze in the first place some prevailing usages of the concept of institution, and the involvement of institutions in the changes of social history.


Institution as a Concept

We find the word used in the pedagogical sense in Calvin’s “Institutio religionis christianae.” In the same sense the manuals of Roman Law are called “Institutions of Roman Law.” Here the word “institution” does not denote the object, but the method, the way of introducing people to a field of knowledge. The purpose of this introduction is to ensure that the learner understands the Christian faith or how to apply the law, that he learns how to live in accordance with it (versari in) and so has a basis for his personal action. The object of pedagogical institutions is not merely to impart knowledge, but also to place the learner in the right position, to show him the pattern of relationships within which he has to act. This type of institution is therefore personal and relational.

The concept is used today in sociology with an extraordinarily wide range of meanings. Everything, from the axe of the Stone Age to the United Nations, is described as an “institution.” In a lecture entitled “The Church as an Institution and Modern Society”2 and in an unpublished manuscript, “Zum Begriff der Institution in der Soziologie Arnold Gehlens,” Martin Greiffenhagen reveals the main lines of the contemporary doctrine of institutionalism. We may summarize as follows the basic conception of institutions on the part of contemporary sociology:

[121] 1. See, e.g., The Nature of the Unity We Seek: Official Report of the North American Conference on Faith and Order, Paul S. Minear, ed. (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1958), pp. 229-236.
2. Published in the Zeitschrift für evangelische Ethik, Vol. 3, 1960, pp. 159ff.


Contemporary anthropology agrees about one essential characteristic of man, which it calls his openness to the world (Welt-Offenheit). The difference between human beings and animals, which live by impulse and instinct, is that the nature of human beings is indeterminate. Nietzsche describes man as “an indeterminate being.” If one wanted to determine the nature of man, one might go so far as to describe it as openness, possibility, man's search to discover himself. In the sphere of action the spontaneity of his free impulses corresponds to this unfixed nature. Man is a “center of dynamism.”
For institutionalism this means that man is the creator of institutions. Out of the “Welt-Offenheit” which is his nature man determines his own nature and fixes it in institutions. Institutions are artificial products of creative man. And from the very outset the social organism is an artificial one; it is not “natural,” “instinctive,” “an inclination,” or anything like that: it is a free, spontaneous creation and “invention.”
On the other hand, however, the institutions which he has himself created confront man as objective forces. He is aware of them as supernatural, essential, and finally divine forces, which he can defy only at the cost of infringing a taboo. “Hence the self-same organizations set up by human beings to regulate their intercourse with one another develop into powers which enforce their own laws to the very last iota” (Gehlen).
Without institutionalizing his life, man could not live at all. In the case of animals security of action is assured by instinct; man achieves the same security through institutions. They “meet a deep human need.” And “culture” simply means a differentiated but stable group of institutions, which are accepted as an objective order. Institutions cannot be understood in the light of pragmatic thought; in them form and content coincide. Wherever people think they can separate the purpose of an institution from its form, a breach


occurs which menaces the institution from within, and finally leads to its collapse.

This means that institutions do not merely cover a deficit, and provide for what is lacking: they also show a marked tendency to extend their original function (Überbildung). Man never rests content with just covering his needs, just attaining the level of his natural environment. He always makes a virtue of necessity, a work of art out of his need, a form of life out of his reaction. An order impelled by necessity develops into statesmanship and government. The deeper the need, the stronger is the form of power used to counteract it. “Institutions . . . will not and cannot safeguard the inward impetus of the personality, nor the vitality of mind and soul. . . . But they guarantee their permanent possibility, by continually providing a minimum of fulfillment for ‘the masses,’ by stabilizing and repeating the appeal, the chronic challenge, to inward control and to a full spiritual life. That is the appeal from above which is inherent in all institutions as their norm and guiding principle in tension with their trivial stability.”

The application of the concept of institution to such varied spheres of technology, culture, law, and social organization is justified by the fact that they are all pre-established for us, so that we do not have to invent and create them; we simply have to accept the existing forms and to use them. We carry on the decision which originally created these institutions, as heirs of a tradition. We can and must make free use of them and change them. But we cannot disown tradition. By accepting tradition I simultaneously accept the spiritual conditions which are pre-established in the organization.

It is important to realize that man takes over institutions in the same way that he adopts language and lives in it. Although there are a great many separate institutions, sociology's main discovery is that man is himself institutional by nature. He may modify the existing institutions, but he cannot escape from the confines of his own institutionality.


Also as a legal concept, the term institution denotes a process. For example, a person is “instituted” (appointed) to a certain position. But the position to which he is “instituted” is also called an “institution” because it always stands ready for someone to be appointed to it. “Institution” therefore denotes both the process, and the status brought about by that process. The temporary process leads to the permanent status. But if this aim is to be attained, the institution must be founded, built up, and instituted as a permanent opportunity of this kind.

When a man and a woman marry it is not they who determine the nature of their relationship, as in the case of a commercial transaction. Their relationship is already pre-established in the institution of marriage — as established by God or by human legislation, or by the nature of the life-relationship which is intended. The institutions therefore have names describing this typical form, for example, “marriage.” I am therefore free either to marry or to remain single; but I cannot alter the nature of the marriage-relationship. The process of being instituted is therefore the outcome of a free decision; but the nature of the institution is predetermined. The two things belong together. As the nature of the institution is predetermined, it is not the consequence of the decision to enter it or to be appointed to it.

Institutional forms of this kind occur in different spheres of law: (a) in family law (such as marriage, adoption); (b) in the law of property; (c) in the laws governing organizations, associations, corporations, and the State.

This third group is of particular interest for the Church. Here there are two main cases: the rules for acceptance into membership (in the case of the State, naturalization); and the rules for appointment to office and other permanent functions.

Here again, free, spontaneous decision is essential; for, as we have seen, this is the process whereby the person concerned is appointed or instituted as a member, a citizen, a judge, an official, or a teacher. Once he is appointed (instituted) to this position (status) he is obliged to carry out the duties involved in that role,


as a husband, a guardian, an owner of property, a citizen, if he does not want to give up this position. Institutions therefore are not inventions of man’s talent for organization, which have assumed special and ultimately burdensome significance owing to their importance. They are rather part of a general structure which is permanently connected with all human relationships. Institutional forms of this kind therefore occur where the elements of human life are permanent: in the spheres of sex (marriage), property, and politics (the State).

Although the conditions in which such institutional structures occur are very different, and although the obligations involved in the “roles” vary tremendously, nevertheless a comparison may be drawn between the institutions of widely differing epochs and peoples.

But what is really permanent and lasting, if we leave out of account what is changing and transient? There are two things: the first is the institution as a structure; that is, the fact that in all permanent relationships one enters a pre-established status through a process, by free decision. Furthermore the "institutional nature" of man, his dependence upon such preconceived and pre-established opportunities, is also permanent.

Second, the needs (sexual, economic, political) with which the different institutions are concerned are also permanent. When one asks concerning the precise content of these needs, he receives varying answers. The “functional” view (found especially in American sociology) regards them as “needs” which must be regularly satisfied and explains that the institutions are formed for that purpose. There is a certain amount of truth in this view; namely, that human beings live under the compulsions of sex, of desires for economic stability, and for political self-determination. But the idea is not complete. It leaves out of account all the observations made by sociology itself. For man does far more than merely respond to needs. He allows himself to be challenged to go beyond the point of meeting his own needs and to shape institutional forms suitable for his life. Or, to express it differently,


one may say that man has been granted (by Someone, whoever it may be) a talent for organization, and entrusted with that task. Such a statement, of course, does not do justice to the tremendous pressure of primitive needs and brutal necessities.

This brings us again to the point where description ends, and we have to arrive at a philosophical and theological explanation and evaluation. In any case, jurisprudence also contains institutional structures which are very exactly defined, and these structures relate to certain basic relationships in social life — in fact, those very relationships which have the deepest and most permanent influence on people's lives. They are therefore not peripheral phenomena which leave the center of human life unaffected.

Here the question arises whether it is possible to refrain from participating in institutions. One may abstain from the opposite sex, but it is certainly impossible for the great majority of people to do so. Such asceticism is an exception. It is bound to break down if it is laid down as a rule for everyone. And if a person is interested in the opposite sex, then marriage is the only form in which this relationship can find permanence and full development. This is particularly important for the question of the children, so much so that attempts have been made to interpret the purpose of marriage as being essentially to produce children.

If anyone abstains from doing work of economic value, he must do something else of social value; otherwise he will have to go begging — in other words, get other people to provide for him. If someone abstains from voting, he is allowing other people to decide for him. Statelessness is therefore no alternative to citizenship; it is only an unsettled case of citizenship. “World Citizen No. 1” who tried to give up his citizenship was therefore fundamentally mistaken about the conditions governing life in society.

The legal concept of the institutional therefore does not conflict with what sociology and pedagogy understand by it. So far we have been primarily concerned with the general and permanent characteristics of the concept. We must now consider the question of its variability.


Institutions and Historic Change

Institutions are concerned with history in two ways. First, a piece of history is enacted within the institutions themselves. It is by forming institutions that man fixes himself in history. Characteristic forms arise. This process cannot be turned back like the hands of a clock, for it is irreversible; yet it can be developed in a forward direction. Every new form of institution, even if it is of the opposite kind, is built on top of the preceding ones. This historical character is particularly clear in the case of marriage. Marriage is a lifelong contract. If it breaks down and the contracting parties have to separate, they do not revert to single status as before; their civic status is that of “separated” or “divorced” persons. They both have a broken marriage behind them.

Second, institutions are concerned with history because they themselves undergo change. As we wish to apply the significance of this institutional change to the doctrine of the Church, we should not generalize too freely. The changes in marriage and property are less illuminating in this connection than the changes which human associations (from the civic organization to the State) have experienced, and are still experiencing. The concept of the ecclesia in the New Testament is itself derived from the gatherings held in the city-state and from the meetings of civic associations. The question, therefore, is whether amid the tremendous variety of forms of human association there exist really important differences which throw light on our present inquiry.

Theological criticism of the organization of the Church has always stressed the fact that the institutional form taken by the Church as an organization does not concern people so much as faith. It has also emphasized the fact that an organization of this kind more or less follows its own laws. The question involved is basically right and important.

The social history of Europe — and probably that of Asia also to a comparable extent — has experienced changes which have a bearing on this very question. Until about A.D. 1500 the European states were based on personal allegiance. Every individual


and every social group within the state was bound to the ruler by definite personal obligations, often of a very varied kind. When the king died, the person in whom these rights were invested had gone, and so there was an interregnum until a new king was crowned. This form was later replaced by the modern geographical state, in which everyone who lives in a certain area is subject to a political authority that in principle has nothing to do with a change of persons, or with a definite personal affiliation between the ruler and his subjects. In this way the state has become independent of individual persons and their affiliations, and has become permanent and continuous. The same applies to all the other forms of association, whether economic or political in character.

This may be illustrated by a few examples. In Shakespeare’s “Henry IV,” Falstaff’s comrade Pistol lays a wager with the Judge that he will lose his position, because he has come with the news that the old king is dead. And Pope Clement IX (1667-1669) is praised because, contrary to the custom at that time, when he became Pope he did not appoint new men to all the church offices; he merely changed the most important ones. His action was the expression of a change in the concept of the state and of government, in fact of a changing world view (Weltbild). The phrase “The King is dead: long live the King!” does not express continuity. It affirms that in spite of the short interregnum, the new order will come into force, and it welcomes it. The young king, the heir to the kingdom, is not a functionary within a state which has a continuous existence of its own. He is “the new king” whose coming is awaited as a new possibility of change and renewal. He is not simply identical with the past.

In a state which is based on personal allegiance, which Shakespeare had in mind, there is no continuity apart from the king’s own person. In the strict sense his England was not a state but a kingdom, a king’s realm, in which the authority was not abstract but personal. In the same way the behavior of the Pope, as a ruling monarch, had also changed as a result of the change in the concept of the state which is now regarded as a causal continuity.


In the U.S.A. not long ago it was customary for all the government employees to be changed if the party in power changed, even if they had no political functions. That, too, is a survival of the older personal form of state.

Consequently our subject “order and organization” cannot arise as a question until those objective, continuous, impersonal social forms have been developed. The result is both a question and a misunderstanding. The question is, What is the relation of a personal institution (order) to a transpersonal institution (organization)? The misunderstanding is due to the assumption that the only type of institution (organization) still existent is impersonal. What we have said above, however, was based on the assumption that today order (that is, personal order) and organization (namely, transpersonal order) still exist side by side, at any rate in the Church.

Here, however, we must see whether this hypothesis holds true when we examine the facts of social history. We must also inquire whether the Church has possibly developed in a different way from the associations of secular society.

The change in the structure of the state, referred to above, did not completely destroy the personal forms of allegiance. That is clear from marriage and from the laws relating to the family. Today marriage is still a personal institution in which, through the process described above, one becomes the husband or wife of another person. The laws concerning children are based on this fact. In the sphere of the state also some elements of personal institutions are still retained. In spite of the change in the structure of the state as a whole, if one is received into a state association, or appointed to an official position, these are still acts of personal institution. We must therefore avoid generalizations and examine the facts separately.

From this point of view, how are we to judge the history of the Church itself? Here those unacquainted with the real facts are misled by the appearance of unity in the legal system of the Roman Catholic Church. In actual fact many different things are combined in the Roman Catholic system, like a house with


additional floors built onto it. It tries to cover up the joints and discrepancies as much as possible. It has therefore arranged its functions as far as possible in such a way that they are interchangeable (on the same lines as the modern form of transpersonal organization), although those who carry out these functions are personally appointed.

On the other hand, Protestantism did not arise until the old form of state as described above was declining. Only to a very small extent did the Reformation churches build up their institutional forms as “order,” as a personal structure; they regarded the church mainly in nonlegal and noninstitutional terms. They took over the transpersonal institution direct from the secular authorities, but it was never respected and was regarded with suspicion. The difficulty in understanding institutional questions in Protestantism is therefore due to their social-historical origin. Many ideas which they claim to be biblical are really only the outcome of their own history.

What do the sociologists think of this historical change? A conservative sociologist like the German scholar Hans Freyer draws a distinction here between primary and secondary institutions. Primary institutions are those with which man is closely involved personally, such as marriage. Secondary institutions are organizations formed to accomplish certain purposes which are independent of the individual. On the other hand, “functionalistic” sociologists are not much interested in such differences; they regard all kinds of institutions as forms which ensure the satisfaction of human needs in different ways.

Neither of the concepts above is entirely satisfactory. The second does not do full justice to its own perceptions. And if one is so radical in attributing the origin of institutions to human “needs,” one finds that the sacramental functions (food, cleansing, sexuality, and so on) are linked up with them.3 The first view is justified by the fact that an institution like marriage and an institution like an “authority” are entirely different in rank and significance for human beings as such. But this view is in danger of separating the personal sphere from the technical one, in a way

[121] 3. Cf. G.v.d. Leeuw, Sakramentales Denken.


that is no longer possible today. By its assumption that “person” and “institution” are opposed, Protestantism has failed to see the real situation; it has been too romantic, and increased the difficulty of bringing personal and technical institutions into a right relationship. But it is very important to point out that without the form of personal institution as described above it is impossible to understand the transpersonal, technical institution. And if we cannot understand it, we are helpless against the magic “spell” of the powerful institution.


Institutional Elements in the Bible

In order to form an opinion on the question of the sociological mutability of institutions, we have compared the Church and the social institutions (from the civic association to the state), and have not mentioned the other spheres (such as marriage) which are also types of institution. This might expose us to the objection that we have been talking about the Church, but not about what “ultimately concerns” the Christian (Tillich).

In order to describe God’s relation to men, the Bible uses institutional concepts drawn from all kinds of spheres. In the Old Testament the Children of Israel are described as God’s “special people,” His “peculiar treasure.”4 God is described as the Owner of this nation, which He sets aside from the world as a sacred sphere, His personal possession. God makes a Covenant with the people of Israel. By accepting this Covenant the people of Israel belong to God. In this nation there is a tradition of ordained priesthood, and also of kingship, to which the New Testament gives high value.

In the New Testament the Old Covenant comes to an end, but it is not simply destroyed; it is at the same time fulfilled. Let us look first at what is directly related to the individual; the first institutional process is baptism. Through baptism, freely accepted in faith, man becomes a member of the Body of Christ. He is incorporated, “instituted” into it. “Baptismate in ecclesia homo (homo carnalis) constituitur persona (persona coram deo)” states

[121] 4. Exodus 19: 5; Deuteronomy, 7: 6, 14: 2; Psalm 135: 4.


Canon 87 of the Codex iuris canonici. Here again we see a process which leads to the status of membership.

The relation of God to believers and to the Church is described in concepts of family-law: it is compared with the relation between bridegroom and bride, between father and children, between testator and heirs. They are all reversionary rights bestowed by God on man by His mercy, with immediate effect, and with the promise of fulfillment in the end-time.

Throughout the New Testament it is impossible to separate the faith and the salvation of the individual from the fellowship of the Church. The New Testament establishes a New Covenant, which man accepts through faith and baptism. In this New Covenant God has set up the apostolic ministry, to which the individual is appointed (“instituted”) through the process of ordination. Anyone who has left this fellowship is reinstituted by absolution as a member of this body.

The ecclesia proprie dicta and its opus proprium therefore show institutional characteristics which are directly based upon Scripture and are not the result of development. On the contrary, by promising to be present whenever two or three believers gather in His Name, God made it possible for the congregation to take a special form. However, since these congregations and churches are all parts of the same body, and all have to undertake the same mission, they are all interdependent.


Institutional Elements in the Church

It is already clear that the institutional elements in the Church are not different from those in the Bible. All the processes which help directly to build up the Body of Christ are spiritual institutions. These spiritual institutions are described in the Report of the Commission as follows:

(i) The Church itself as divinely instituted,
(ii) The Gospel, the Sacraments, and the Ministry,
(iii) The community in its responsive functions such as


preaching and teaching, pastoral care, service to the needy, and social action,
(iv) The interdependence of all churches and Christian groups in the Body of Christ, however separated historically.
(v) The gathering of Christians in local congregations and other determinate patterns of common life and activity.5

Under a sixth caption, the Report mentions an entirely different group of institutions: “the organizational, administrative, legal, financial and other arrangements and procedures which are needed for the continuous life and mission of the Christian community.” We must, however, draw a clear distinction between the first five points and the sixth.

Both groups denote institutional elements; but the two groups deal with different matters and therefore differ in rank and importance for the life of the Church. The institution as “order” comprises the spiritual Church and its opus proprium. The institution as “organization” comprises the Church in its secular legal relationships and its opus alienum. The difference may also be expressed as follows: “order” works directly, and “organization” works indirectly. The methods employed by the Church as an “order” are therefore those of a spiritual institution (for example, baptism, ordination); whereas the methods which it employs as an “organization” are secular, and can also be used by non-Christians for comparable purposes (such as raising money, publicity, building projects). The Church-institution as an “order” does what the world does not and cannot do (preaching, baptizing), but the Church as an “organization” does things which the world also does, only for different purposes.

As this concept of the Church as an institution is comparatively new, some serious objections will certainly be made against it. The most important question is, What is the relation of the institutional elements in the Church to God’s spontaneous action, and also to His challenge to us here and now?

[121] 5. The Old and the New in the Church (London: SCM Press, 1960), pp. 78f.


The first thing that must be said is (to quote Karl Barth), that the Church always has to find a balance between rigidity and confusion. In the present case this means that the Church stands between the doctrine of opus operatum and the docetism of a bodiless pseudo-Church, which rejects the signa externa ecclesiae (the outward signs of the Church). Or, to express it differently, the Church stands between the belief that a certain institutional act as such is essential, on the one hand, and the radical disjunction between spirit and institution, on the other.

The experience of church history shows that errors always occur in pairs. If one violently attacks one error, one usually goes to the opposite extreme. Institutions and freedom are not directly opposed to one another; for the institution includes an act of freedom. One is free to join the institution or not (for instance, one is free to marry or not).

According to Augustine, faith is the virtus sacramenti, and this freedom to believe is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Therefore if baptism, for instance, is institutional in character, this is only under the condition of the freedom bestowed by the Spirit. God’s commandment is to be fulfilled freely and spontaneously. It may seem as if the act of entering the koinonia-institution and this freedom have nothing to do with one another, or are even opposed. But in fact they are closely connected. It is through koinonia (fellowship) that we attain freedom. Hence the words “whoever believes and is baptized . . .” Here the difference between freedom and institution-fellowship is overcome. It may be permissible to explain it thus: the God-given freedom to believe leads to koinonia, and koinonia is the condition for the possibility of being free: “Without me you can do nothing.” Koinonia is not an aim in itself (an ontological misconception), and freedom cannot exist apart from koinonia (an individualistic misconception). The Church can therefore teach that baptism is essential for salvation. In this case salvation is the opportunity of living in a new relationship of fellowship with God.

The second big objection is that an institution has a legal


character. There is no cause for misgivings on this score, for three reasons:
Exegetical reasons. The Bible contains many legal statements, both concerning God's relation to men (expressed in legal concepts) and concerning the legal structure of the church. Liberal theology made a great mistake in regarding the Law and the Gospel as opposites. This distorted the interpretation of Paul’s theology, especially, and must now be corrected.
Hermeneutical reasons. The Bible uses many legal expressions in order to describe man’s relation to God. A closer inquiry shows that the “existential interpretation” of the gospel has always taken this form, and is impossible without it.
Legal reasons. The concept of Right and Justice, conceived as being opposed to the gospel, is in itself false. Justice is not “law” (in the sense of Pauline theology); it is not merely a demand which can be fulfilled through our own strength, and which therefore cannot be fulfilled. A right is rather a gift, a commission, an authority.

When God justifies us through grace, He gives us a new right. When the Church baptizes, it does right, because it has the commission and authority. This is also the case when it appoints people to offices. When the Church fulfills the commandment to evangelize, it proclaims God’s claim and His offer of grace, and thus its action is right. This “right," which the Church derives from the commission and authority of Jesus Christ, is different, it is true, from the legal rights of bourgeois society, such as the right to acquire property; but the word “right” retains both connotations.

These two misgivings and objections are really misunderstandings and prejudices. It is only after they have been overcome that a more essential idea can be considered, which is often confused with them. The spiritual action in the whole history of salvation (Heilsgeschichte) has two sides: one, the institution; the other, the event. In his book New Testament Pattern6 Jean-Louis Leuba has drawn attention to this. There is an institutional tradition which extends from the making of the Old Covenant up to

[121] 6. E.T. London: Lutterworth Press, 1953.


Pentecost, and this can be clearly shown from the titles given to Jesus Christ. There is also a tradition of events, where the prophets of every epoch have broken into this continuity in the history of salvation. Neither event nor institution can be derived from the other, nor attributed to the other. It is only when we accept them both together that we accept the whole of the gospel. It is therefore impossible to establish an antithesis between institution and the spirit.

Therefore the “organization” can serve the Church only if we understand and accept the “order” as a spiritual form of institution. Institution in the spiritual sense can be understood rightly only if we understand both things, event and institution, as two aspects of the same fact.


Bibliography for Essay 5


Dombois, Hans, Naturrecht und christliche Existenz (Kassel: Johannes Stauda Verlag 1952).
—, Das Recht der Gnade — Ökumenisches Kirchenrecht I (Witten: Luther Verlag, 1961).
—, Recht und Institution, Eine Fortsetzung des Göttinger Gesprächs von 1949 über die christliche Begründung des Rechts mit Beitragen von E. Wolf, U. Scheuner (Witten: Luther Verlag, 1956).
Ellul, Jacques, Die theologische Begründung des Rechts (München: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1948).
Kirche und Recht, Ein vom Rat der evangelischen Kirche in


Deutschland veranlasstes Gespräch über die christliche Begründung des Rechts (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1950).
Die Treysa-Konferenz 1950 über das Thema “Gerechtigkeit in biblischer Sicht” herausgegeben von der Studienabteilung des Ökumenischen Rates der Kirchen (Genf: 1950).
Gehlen, Arnold, Urmensch und Spätkultur (Bonn: Athenäum Verlag, 1956).
Heckel, Johannes, Lex charitatis, Eine juristische Untersuchung über das Recht in der Theologie Martin Luthers (München: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (C.H. Beck), 1953).