Seeking the Church
An Introduction to Ecclesiology
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Seeking the Church offers students, teachers and scholars an introduction to key themes for a contemporary doctrine of the church. The book considers some fundamental questions: What does it mean to seek the Church? How is this related to the search for God? Who are the contemporary travellers seeking God but not interested in the Church? What is the relationship between the Triune God and the Church? How might the Church recover a pace and presence in tune with the Spirit of Christ? Where does energy come from for a resilient discipleship in the contemporary world? Is community a good idea?
Chapters cover sources, images, models and practices of the Church. Faulty doctrines of God are examined for their impact on the relationship between the church and the world, leadership and mission. At the heart of the book is an emphasis on movement and pilgrimage with the Triune God. Later chapters offer a fresh examination of familiar themes in ecclesiology: the marks of the Church; structure and polity in terms of freedom; and word, sacraments, witness and care in relation to energy. The result is a dynamic systematic ecclesiology that concludes with a provocative account of the ‘slow church coming’.
Questions and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter make this a particularly useful text for students and teachers.
'Stephen Pickard combines that rare gift of being able to write about the church, mission, culture and theology with wisdom, insight and profound depth, and all rooted in his own pastoral and ministerial experiences. He is without doubt one of the most exciting theologians of our generation, and this, his latest book, is a rich and illuminating study that is set to become essential reading for all who seeking to understand the forces shaping ecclesial life and Christian discipleship in contemporary culture. Seeking the Church is a major book on the nature of the church for our time, and by one of our wisest and most creative scholars.' --Revd Canon Martyn Percy, Principal, Ripon College, Cuddesdon
'Through a critical engagement with a long theological tradition of reflection on the nature of the Church, Stephen Pickard offers us a dynamic 'pilgrim ecclesiology'. The search for God is necessarily undertaken through a shared human journey across the world's rocky terrain. The Church is made visible in those myriad moments and places in which God's people confess together that they have been sought and found by Christ. This book will be an invaluable resource for clergy, teachers and students who wish to learn about the nature of the Church and its place in the world.'-- Simon Oliver, University of Nottingham, UK
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