‘How can we seek to re-imagine what it means to be the Church and create new communities if we lack the language and ability to talk and reflect about what it means to be the Church in dialogue with Scripture and our tradition.’ Steven Croft, Mapping Ecclesiology for a mixed economy in ‘Mission Shaped Questions’’
The new Christian community in which the walls are broken down not by human legalism or democratic legalism but by the work of Christ is not only a vehicle of the gospel or only a fruit of the gospel; it is the good news. It is not merely the agent of mission or the constituency of a mission agency. This is mission. John Howard Yoder, The Royal Priesthood, 1994 ‘The Church is both the fruit of God’s mission and the agent of his mission. It is of the essence (the DNA) of the Church to be a missionary community. Mission shaped church report p 85. There is Church because there is mission and not vice versa. David Bosch, Transforming Mission
Missional Church ‘With the term missional we emphasise the essential nature and vocation of the church as Gods called and sent people.’ ed. Darrell Guder, Missional Church, A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America Church is missional by its very nature. It is not a thing the church does but it is why church is. Mission defines the church as God’s sent people, either we are defined by mission, or we reduce the scope of the gospel and the mandate of the church.
Missional Church Three key concepts • The Missio Dei • Missio Spiritus • The Trinity • Kingdom of God • ‘We are persuaded that any responsiblemissionary • ecclesiology must be centred on the hope, • the message, and the demonstration of the • in breaking reign of God in Jesus Christ.’ • 3. Incarnation
Missional Church • Missionary ecclesiology is biblical • Missionary ecclesiology is historical • Missionary ecclesiology is contextual • Missionary ecclesiology is eschatological • Missionary ecclesiology can be practised
Concrete Church ‘ The identity of the concrete church is not simply given, it is constructed and ever reconstructed by the grace enabled activities of its members as they embody the church practices, beliefs and values.’ ‘The practice of ecclesiology arises out of ecclesial practices, and is ordered directly towards them.’ Nicholas Healy
Concrete Church • Encapsulate in a single word or phrase the • most essential characteristic of the church • Use a bipartite structure- the visible and invisible • or human and divine • A systematic & theoretical form normative • ecclesiology • 4. Reflect upon the church in abstraction from its • concrete identity & context • 5. Present an idealised account of the church
“ The church is comprised of four sets of relationships centred on Jesus, to the Godhead, between members of the local church, to the world and between each part and the whole body.’ p106.
Church as four sets of relationships. up of out in ‘ Moynagh, Church for Every Context p 106.
Basic questions of church • Who? • What? • Why? Maybe we should ask Where from? Where to ?
Eight criteria for ‘proper’ Church. p181 • Community of people called by God • Regularly worships and is sent out in mission • Gospel is proclaimed • Scripture preached and taught • Baptism • Holy Communion • Authorised ministry for Lords Supper • Connected to wider church through various ways
Where from ? • The Body of Christ • Pentecost • The Trinity
Where to ? Following Jesus - disciple Pilgrims- alien Eschaton- mystery of the future
“The very essence of church life is that she is pressing forward to the fulfilment of God’s purpose…… pressing forward to the ends of the earth and the end of the world.”
“ the theological doctrine of the church cannot be simply expressed in abstract terms about the churches timeless nature. It will have to provide points of departure for reforming the church, for giving it a more authentic form. Faithfulness and the fresh start are not antitheses in the history of the Spirit.”
Four voices of theology • What people on the ground say. Espoused • What is practised and experienced. Operant • Scripture and the tradition. Normative • Theological voices from the academy. Formal