Who is the Church: An Ecclesiology for the Twenty-First Century

Who is the Church: An Ecclesiology for the Twenty-First Century

by Cheryl Peterson

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Overview

Many congregations today are beset by fears, whether over loss of members and money, or of irrelevancy in an increasingly pluralistic society. To counter this, many congregations focus on strategy and purposewhat churches "do"but Cheryl Peterson submits that mainline churches need to focus instead on "what" or "who" they areto reclaim a theological, rather than sociological, understanding of themselves.

To do this, she places the questions of the church's identity and mission into a conversation with the primary ecclesiological paradigms of the past century: the neo-Reformation concept of the church as a "word event" and the ecumenical paradigms of the church as "communion." She argues that these two paradigms assume a context of cultural Christendom that no longer existsfocused on the church that is gatheredrather than the missional church that is sent out.

Peterson suggests instead that we understand the church as a people created by the Spirit to be a community, and that we must claim a narrative method to explore the church's identityspecifically, the story of the church's origin in the Acts of the Apostles. Finally, here is a way of thinking of church that reconciles the best of competing models of church for the future of mainline Protestant theology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800698812
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/2013
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 714,947
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Cheryl M. Peterson is associate professor of systematic theology at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. Her scholarly works include contributions to Transformative Lutheran Theologies: Feminist, Womanist, and Mujerista Perspectives(Fortress Press, 2010) and Critical Issues in Ecclesiology (2011), in addition to numerous articles for professional journals.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Asking the Right Question 1

1 Ecclesiology and Context in Protestant America 13

2 The Church as Word-Event 37

3 The Church as Communion 59

4 Ecclesiology Post-Christendom: The Missional Church 83

5 Starting with the Spirit: A Narrative Method for Ecclesiology Post-Christendom 99

6 An Ecclesiology That "Starts with the Spirit": The Ecumenical Creeds 121

Epilogue: A Vision for Revival 143

Index of Names and Subjects 149

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