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Title: A critique of the ecclesiology, missiology and sociology of the Mission-shaped Church report
Author: Powell, Gareth
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the Church of England report Mission-Shaped Church (MSC) and its subsequent secondary and synodical legislation. It traces the missiology, ecclesiology and sociology of the initial report and their subsequently developed over the last seven years. The thesis ascertains how well this missiology and ecclesiology reflects or adapts traditional and contemporary Anglican missiology and ecclesiology represented in official reports of the Church of England over the last two hundred years as well as in its missionary work in England. Chapter one will survey the report itself and all subsequent secondary literature and legislation, identifying their sources and tracing the contours of their theology and sociology. Chapter two places these findings into historic relief, ascertaining that they are novel in the life of the Church of England; that MSC deduces its own sources; and is alien in its methodology and recommendations compared to the existing theological corpus of the church. Chapter three examines the work of William Temple as a counter ecclesiology and missiology to MSC. The ‘Temple method’ of bringing any, and all, social issues into dialogue with the existing Anglican tradition, and his emphasis on the sacramental and catholic life of the church, are representative of historic Anglican approaches to missiology and ecclesiology. Chapter four will use the sociology of Zygmunt Bauman as an experimental basis to help the Church of England understand its contemporary context. His work illustrates that the ideology of consumerism is the major missiological challenge the church faces today, one that MSC failed to critically engage with, and actually succumbed to, in its missiological method, which results in a deficient and under-resources ecclesiology. The conclusion will correct these failings and shortcomings by bringing the ecclesiology presented in the third chapter into critical dialogue with the sociology of chapter four. We will argue that a comprehensive ecclesiology and missiology, that has a sacramental and catholic focus – represented by Temple, and other numerous official reports – when brought to bear on the social reality of Bauman’s ‘liquid modernity’, yields a much richer understanding of the impetus of the gospel in contemporary England. Such a theology combats the anthropology of consumption through its emphasis on sacramental participation, and critiques the exclusion of the stranger and the strange by emphasising a catholic vision of inclusion and mutuality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Theology ; Ecclesiology ; Missiology ; Sociology