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Holiness and Order: British Methodism's Search for the Holy Catholic Church

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image of Ecclesiology

This article investigates British Methodism's doctrine of the Church in relation to its own ecclesial self-understanding. Methodists approach the doctrine of the Church by reflecting on their 'experience' and 'practice', rather than systematically. The article sketches the cultural and ecclesial context of Methodist ecclesiology before investigating the key sources of British Methodist doctrinal teaching on the Church: the theological legacy of John Wesley; the influence of the non-Wesleyan Methodist traditions as represented by Primitive Methodism; twentieth-century ecumenical developments; and British Methodist Faith and Order statements on the subject. The phenomenon of 'emerging expressions of Church' makes the question of the nature and location of the Church pertinent at the present time for all Christian traditions.


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