Date of Award

5-6-2016

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)

Department

School of Theology and Seminary

First Advisor

Shawn Colberg

Second Advisor

Charles Bobertz

Abstract

This thesis will undertake the mission of articulating the ecclesiological thought of Augustine with particular emphasis on charity as the fundamental component to church unity. Hopefully, this will further demonstrate his inclusivity, not exclusivity. The beginnings of this thesis will simply show his influences, and thus serve as a background to understanding the mind of Augustine. The next step will take the reader into the world of Augustine’s theology of charity. Charity in the Christian life is the result of being gifted with God’s grace; how charity works and how proper, authentic charity appears will be the topic of the section. The second section of this thesis will concern itself with Donatism and Augustine’s ecclesiology. It will examine multiple complementary views of Church held by Augustine: mystical communion, Body of Christ, field hospital, etc., and demonstrate where charity exists and why its existence is crucial for church unity. The final chapter will explore Augustine’s mature theology of nature and grace, in order to reflect his universal sense of a need for grace that sets everyone on the same level.

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