Engaging with the Contemporary Church

Authored by: Paul D. Murray

The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415617369
eBook ISBN: 9781315724799
Adobe ISBN: 9781317532026


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My purpose in this chapter is to explore the area of theology that deals most directly with the study of the Church: ecclesiology. I first reflect on the more general task of theology as presented in this book as a whole, before asking what it means for theologians to ‘think well of the Church’. I argue that thinking well of the Church requires a bifocal perspective – empirical and doctrinal. I explore how ecclesiology brings these two modes into transformative relation, in order to diagnose the ills and promote the increased flourishing of Christian communion. I then focus on the specific challenges posed by the divided state of the Christian churches, and ask what contribution ecumenical engagement can make to ecclesiology – finishing with an exploration of two examples of such engagement.

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