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The Nature and Mission of the Church - A Stage on the Way to a Common Statement

This extended text (about 18,000 words) was published in December 2005 and is the latest result from Faith and Order's study on Ecclesiology. It seeks to express common convictions about the church, its nature and mission, and to identify the ecclesiological issues which continue to divide the churches today. The text has been sent officially to the churches for evaluation and response; study groups and individuals are also invited to offer comments and reactions. This text replaces the previous study document The Nature and Purpose of the Church (Faith and Order Paper no. 181, issued in 1998).

15 December 2005

(Faith and Order Paper no. 198)

Also available in French, German, Spanish and Czech (pdf, 1 MB, translation courtesy of Svetlana Hanke-Jarosova and the Czech Bishops Conference).


This extended text (about 18,000 words) was published in December 2005 and is the latest result from Faith and Order's study on Ecclesiology. It seeks to express common convictions about the church, its nature and mission, and to identify the ecclesiological issues which continue to divide the churches today. The text has been sent officially to the churches for evaluation and response; study groups and individuals are also invited to offer comments and reactions. This text replaces the previous study document The Nature and Purpose of the Church (Faith and Order Paper no. 181, issued in 1998).

Table of Contents

Introduction

A. This Study

B. Purpose and Method

C. The Invitation

I. The Church of the Triune God

A. The Nature of the Church

(I) THE CHURCH AS A GIFT OF GOD: CREATION OF THE WORD AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (CREATURA VERBI ET CREATURA SPIRITUS)

(II) BIBLICAL INSIGHTS

(a) The Church as People of God

(b) The Church as the Body of Christ

(c) The Church as Temple of the Holy Spirit

(d) The Church as Koinonia/Communion

B. The Mission of the Church

C. The Church as Sign and Instrument of God's Intention and Plan for the World

II. The Church in History

A. The Church in via

B. In Christ ? But Not Yet in Full Communion

C. Communion and Diversity

D. The Church as Communion of Local Churches

III. The Life of Communion in and for the World

A. Apostolic Faith

B. Baptism

C. Eucharist

D. Ministry of All the Faithful

E. Ministry of the Ordained

F. Oversight: Personal, Communal, Collegial

(I) PERSONAL

(II) COMMUNAL

(III) COLLEGIAL

G. Conciliarity and Primacy

H. Authority

IV. In and for the World

Conclusion

Download : FO2005_198_en.pdf