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What is Distinctive about Methodist Ecclesiology? A Response to Papers by Miriam Haar, Justus Hunter and Robert Martin

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Does Methodism want a distinctive ecclesiology? British Methodism assumes its ecclesiology from the Church of England which explains its lack of ecclesiological thinking, its genuine desire for reunification, and indeed its focus on ecclesia in actu. But there can be no ecclesia in actu apart from ecclesia per se. Being and doing are one in God. The Church, grounded in the dynamic being of God in Trinity, celebrates in the action of the Eucharist the wholeness of God’s presence with his world. Proleptically the Church includes the whole of creation and all people. Hence, when as the Body of Christ we pray the Our Father with our Lord, we pray on behalf of all, not just for ourselves. But what then do we mean by apostolicity? Perhaps in Methodism we would be well occupied exploring more keenly with the Roman Catholic Church what we each mean by being a society within the church. Outler may have been right when he opined that Methodism needed a Catholic Church within which to be church.

Affiliations: 1: Jubilee Centre for Character and Values, School of Education, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK,


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