Apostolicity : The Ecumenical Question in World Christian Perspective

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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 392 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25mm | 544g
  • Inter-Varsity Press,US
  • Illinois, United States
  • English
  • 0830850953
  • 9780830850952
  • 400,736

Review quote

"Apostolicity is associated with the very foundation of the church, yet its meaning has been distorted by faulty interpretation. Rather than preserving the binary definition--cultivation of the faith, communication of the faith--for most of the past two millennia the priority has been firmly placed on cultivation, making communication subsidiary. This has had profoundly negative consequences for both church and mission. In this pioneering study Dr. John Flett shows with multiple examples--historical, theological and cultural--how pervasive and influential this traditional view has been. Today's pluriform and polycentric global Christianity will continue to move with a limp so long as a true apostolicity is not appropriated. This work boldly and constructively points the way forward."--Wilbert R. Shenk, senior professor of mission history and contemporary culture, Fuller Graduate School of Intercultural Studies
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