This article intends to read Stanley Hauerwas’s ecclesial ethic in a critical manner. To do this, firstly, I try to unpack Hauerwas’s dualistic understanding of the relationship between the church and the world. For Hauerwas: (1) The world is the world of violence. According to him, the world after the tower of Babylon has become the world full of violence and war because together with the division of language the fear of others came into play in the world. (2) Since the modern period, the world has been governed by the spirit of liberalism. For Hauerwas, liberalism is considered the same as the freedom of individuals. As a result, in the liberal world, there is no common story that people share with one another, and the world is left with atomic individuals and their desires. (3) Unfortunately, according to Hauerwas, the church has imitated the characters of the world. It has served the world by dedicating itself to make the world better with the social programs of the world. The result was the dilution of the spirit of the Gospel. In so doing, the church has lost its distinctive identity. To overcome these trends, Hauerwas argues that the social task of the church is to be the church itself. This means that the church can serve the world by being an alternative community for the world or a contrast model with the world. For doing this, according to Hauerwas, (1) the church must become a peace-making community. (2) In order to be a peaceful community, the church is formed by the story which is Jesus Christ. This is why the cross of Jesus Christ is the embodiment of peace. (3) In this sense, the social task of the church is to nurture the people of virtue who knows the peaceful story of Jesus Christ.
Secondly, I criticize Hauerwas’s ecclesial ethic in the following three ways: (1) Hauerwas overemphasizes the distinctiveness of the church from the world. This may result in sectarianism though Hauerwas denies it. (2) Hauerwas does not recognize the importance of justice. According to him, peace does not go together with justice because the latter always implies the logic of force and violence. However, the Bible says that peace is the result of justice. (3) Hauerwas’s ecclesial ethic supports the authoritarian system of community in which master sits over disciple. In this sense, Hauerwasian community can be an unequal and unjust one. This article comes to a conclusion that for the church to be the church needs both its identity and its socio-political responsibility.