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Division, Diversity, and Unity

A Theology of Ecclesial Charisms

Series:

James E. Pedlar

The term «charism» is drawn originally from Pauline literature and refers to a gift given by the Spirit for the upbuilding of the body of Christ. Since the mid-twentieth century, Christians from a broad spectrum of theological positions have applied this term, in varying ways, to groups within the Church. However, no book thus far has provided a rigorous and sustained critical investigation of this idea of ecclesial charisms. In Division, Diversity, and Unity, James E. Pedlar provides such an investigation, drawing on biblical and systematic theology as well as literature on church renewal and ecumenism. Against those who justify denominational separation in order to preserve particular gifts of the Spirit, Pedlar insists that the theology of charisms supports visible, organic unity as the ecumenical ideal.
Division, Diversity, and Unity argues that the theology of ecclesial charisms can account for legitimately diverse specialized vocational movements in the Church but cannot account for a legitimate diversity of separated churches. Pedlar tests and develops his constructive proposal against the fascinating and conflicted histories of two evangelistic movements: the Paulist Fathers and The Salvation Army. While the proposed theology of ecclesial charisms stakes out a legitimate and important place in the Church for specialized movements, it excludes any attempt to justify the permanent separation of an ecclesial body on the basis of an appeal to an ecclesial charism.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Pedlar, James E. Division, diversity, and unity: a theology of ecclesial charisms / James E. Pedlar. pages cm. — (American University studies VII. Theology and religion; Vol. 351) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Gifts, Spiritual. 2. Church. I. Title. BT767.3.P43 234’.13—dc23 2015000940 ISBN 978-1-4331-3005-2 (hardcover) ISBN 978-1-4539-1544-8 (e-book) ISSN 0740-0446 Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de/. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Portions of chapter 3 were previously published as “Ecclesial Institutions as Means of Grace: A Wesleyan View of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Church” in the Wesleyan Theological Journal, 49/1 (Spring 2014), pages 108–121. Cover photo by James E. Pedlar of the interior of the chapel at Tyndale University College and Seminary

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