Apostolicity - The Ecumenical Question in World Christian Perspective

Apostolicity - The Ecumenical Question in World Christian Perspective

3.25 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.25 (4 ratings by Goodreads)

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What constitutes the unity of the church over time and across cultures? Can our account of the church's apostolic faith embrace the cultural diversity of world Christianity?
The ecumenical movement that began in the twentieth century posed the problem of the church's apostolicity in profound new ways. In the attempt to find unity in the midst of the Protestant-Catholic schism, participants in this movement defined the church as a distinct culture-complete with its own structures, rituals, architecture and music. Apostolicity became a matter of cultivating the church's own (Western) culture. At the same time it became disconnected from mission, and more importantly, from the diverse reality of world Christianity.
In this pioneering study, John Flett assesses the state of the conversation about the apostolic nature of the church. He contends that the pursuit of ecumenical unity has come at the expense of dealing responsibly with crosscultural difference. By looking out to the church beyond the West and back to the New Testament, Flett presents a bold account of an apostolicity that embraces plurality.
Missiological Engagements charts interdisciplinary and innovative trajectories in the history, theology, and practice of Christian mission, featuring contributions by leading thinkers from both the Euro-American West and the majority world whose missiological scholarship bridges church, academy, and society.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 392 pages
  • 153 x 228 x 25mm | 542g
  • Inter-Varsity Press,US
  • Illinois, United States
  • English
  • 0830850953
  • 9780830850952
  • 416,847

Table of contents



1. The Problem of Apostolicity

2. Apostolicity Under the Horizon of Schism

3. Culture as the Nature of Apostolic Continuity

4. Apostolicity and Colonization: A Relationship?

5. Subordinating Apostolicity to the Apostolate

6. Historical Continuity in the Perspective of World Christianity

7. Jesus Christ, the One Ground of the Apostle

8. Apostolicity: The Livingness of the Living Word


Author Index

Subject Index

Scripture Index
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Review quote

"Ecumenical discussions assume that the apostolic faith is transmitted through ecclesial practices and institutional structures. John Flett shows how this assumption leads, quite logically, to colonization as a mode of Christian mission. Alternatively, he argues that the experience of world Christianity should be taken as a point of departure. Diverse expressions of Christianity already share the apostolic faith; they do not need to be linked to some Western tradition to justify their apostolic continuity. This book's implications for ecclesiology and mission are huge."--The Christian Century, May 10, 2017
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About John G. Flett

John G. Flett (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) lectures in intercultural theology and mission studies at Pilgrim Theological College, part of the University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of The Witness of God: The Trinity, Missio Dei, Karl Barth and the Nature of Christian Community and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
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