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Title: Christian perfection as a vision for evangelism
Author: Yeich, Stephen Brian
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 8904
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis addresses the problem of the fragmentation of conversion and discipleship in the theology and practice of evangelism within the Wesleyan tradition. Fragmentation is understood as the process of splintering or separating elements that were previously united. It is argued that this fragmentation results in large part from the lack of a unifying vision for conversion and discipleship, and that recovering the significance of Christian perfection can present a way forward. The work of Alisdair MacIntyre is used to interpret the doctrine of Christian perfection as providing a telos and vision for evangelism. The work of Ellen Charry is also drawn upon to show how the doctrine of Christian perfection is sapiential in nature, and shapes the practice of evangelism to that end. This thesis argues that the renewing of Christian perfection as a vision of evangelism can hold the elements of conversion and discipleship in tension, thus repairing the fragmentation. On the one hand, evangelism that aims at making disciples who press on to perfection will intentionally seek conversion as a necessary but incomplete goal. On the other hand, spiritual formation that aims at perfection must be rooted in the reality of conversion itself, and cannot proceed without effective evangelism. Drawing upon evidence from the theology of John Wesley and the early Methodist movement supports the argument, and the problem is further explored by a critical analysis of contemporary scholarship in the Wesleyan tradition. The implications of the thesis include the need for an evangelistic message that communicates the good news in terms of holy love, capturing both the need for personal conversion and the pursuit of Christian perfection. A second implication is the need for an approach to evangelism that restores the link between conversion and discipleship. A third implication is for a new or renewed set of evangelistic practices that guide persons through the experience of conversion, and on toward the telos of Christian perfection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Evangelism ; Methodist ; Wesley