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Priest in the Inner City

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Subjecting the Ecclesiology of John Milbank and Rowan Williams to Empirical Scrutiny

image of Ecclesiology

The article considers the strengths and weaknesses of John Milbank’s ecclesiology by examining encounters the author has had as a Church of England priest working in the inner city. The analysis is further sharped by setting Milbank’s ecclesiology alongside Rowan Williams’s ideas about the Church and priestly ministry. The article argues that, while there is more to Milbank’s ecclesiology than some critics have allowed, his account can be usefully supplemented by close attention to the lived experience of the Church day by day. For a more rounded characterization of the Church as a distinctive human community, we need to look at the Church taken to its limits, sticking with situations of ‘dis-ease and conflict’, and not looking for ‘quick and false solutions’. These points can all be found in Williams’s ecclesiology.

Affiliations: 1: University of Bristol,


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