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An Examination of Emerging-Missional Ecclesiological Conceptions: Missional Ecclesiology and the Ecclesiologies of Miroslav Volf, Joseph Ratzinger and John Zizioulas

Hill, Graham Joseph (2009) An Examination of Emerging-Missional Ecclesiological Conceptions: Missional Ecclesiology and the Ecclesiologies of Miroslav Volf, Joseph Ratzinger and John Zizioulas. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis explores the research question, ‘What are the similarities and differences between the ecclesiological conceptions of the western Emerging-Missional Church Movement (EMCM) and the core ecclesiologies of the theologians presented in Miroslav Volf’s After Our Likeness, being Volf, Ratzinger and Zizioulas, and how might dialogue between all these parties enrich and inform ecclesiology?’ The two primary and consequent research objectives, therefore, are detailed here. (1) To critically analyse and describe the primary (explicit and less obvious) ecclesiological perspectives of thirty-seven of the most influential EMCM authors, examining works published between 1995 and 2008. (2) To build on Volf’s After Our Likeness, by putting the ecclesiologies therein into a critical conversation with the EMCM, which demonstrates their similarities, differences, and opportunities for enriching dialogue. The research methodology is qualitative, involving Content Analysis, the manual comparing and contrasting of primary sources, and the use of the textual analysis software QSR Nvivo. It involved the examination of thirty-seven EMCM documents published between 1995 and 2008, the analysis of the ecclesiological works of Volf, Ratzinger and Zizioulas, and the comparison of these sources in order to form conclusions.

The thesis involves four parts. Part 1, which is titled Introduction and Methodology,includes the introduction, rationale, description of the research methodology, and justification for the choice of the particular EMCM authors and of Volf, Ratzinger and Zizioulas in this study.

Part 2, which is titled Critical Survey 1, provides an examination of the chosen EMCM texts, and an analytical survey and evaluation of both the obvious and the more subtle ecclesiological views of the EMCM. The insights of Stanley Grenz,David Bosch and Paul Hiebert are occasionally added to this analysis, not because they are explicit ‘members’ of the EMCM, but because of their significant influence on the EMCM texts.

Part 3, titled Critical Survey 2, briefly summarizes the core perspectives of Volf,Ratzinger and Zizioulas, not to put them into critical dialogue with each other, or even to critically analyse their perspectives, but to establish their convictions for the purpose of an ecclesiological dialogue with the EMCM. Such a critical survey leads the thesis toward further critical lines of reasoning, comparison and conclusions.

Part 4, which is titled Toward Dialogical Ecclesiologies for a Missional Context,examines the similarities and differences between the ecclesiologies of the EMCM and that of Volf, Ratzinger and Zizioulas, how such dialogue enriches all the parties concerned, and suggests how dialogue deepens and benefits missional ecclesiology as it is taking shape in western culture. It presents the thesis findings and conclusions.

This thesis concludes that while the ecclesiological perspectives of Volf, Ratzinger and Zizioulas enrich those of the EMCM, the emerging-missional ecclesiology of the EMCM contribute significantly to the development of a meaningful missional ecclesiology for contemporary western culture. EMCM ecclesiological perspectives on the missionary nature of the church, and on the core expressions of this missionary nature in local faith communities, are significant for other ecclesiological traditions and for the western church in an increasingly missional context. Furthermore, a thorough analysis of EMCM ecclesiology is important for the formation of an adequate missional ecclesiology for contemporary western culture.

Item Type: Theses (Doctor of Philosophy)
Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
Keywords: missional, ecclesiology, comparative ecclesiology
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Applied Research
Subjects: D - Pastoral Studies
College/Association with University of Divinity: STC: Stirling Theological College
Depositing User: Rev Dr Graham Joseph Hill
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2019 00:42
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2019 05:23
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/3376

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