School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications

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Christianity | Missions and World Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


This article engages the theme of the 2017 meeting of the American Society of Missiology: “Missiology’s Dialogue Partners: Practitioners and Scholars Conversing about the Future of Mission.” It seeks to contribute to that conversation by providing a survey of the discipline of ecclesiology with an eye towards how it might learn from the field of mission and how it might inform it. This exploration begins by defining some of the goals, methods, and boundaries of the field of ecclesiology. It then considers three critical issues at the forefront of ecclesiological work today: 1) questions emanating from the ecumenical sphere; 2) shifting demographics within Christianity and corresponding calls for new ecclesial structures, and 3) the necessity of a more robust engagement between ecclesiology and the social sciences. The concluding section offers some reflections about how the current state of ecclesiology might provide glimpses of the future of ecclesiology and what light it might shine on the future of missiology.


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