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The Church in the Theological Writings of Avery Dulles

Impulses for African Ecclesiology

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Pius Benson

Attempts at understanding the nature, inner life, mission and purpose of the Church have often resulted in the application of certain empirical models and the assumption of sometimes directly opposing positions. From his research findings, the author agrees with Avery Dulles that the exclusive leaning towards any one particular model gives rise to a defective ecclesiology. In Dulles‘ objectively critical and dialectical approach to important and sometimes controversial ecclesiological issues lie the impulses for a balanced and fruitful theology of the Church for the African continent. The African choice of «The Church as Family of God» needs therefore to be complemented by other traditional images if African ecclesiology is to avoid the pitfalls of a one-sided theology of the Church.
Contents: Understanding the Church Through the Application of Images – The Changing Concepts of Church Membership – Structures of the Church – Institution and Charism in the Church – The Concept of Catholicity – The Mission of the Church – Church Reform Through Creative Interaction – Freedom in the Church – Pluralism of Cultures and the Emerging «World-Church» – Ministries and Teaching Authority in the Church – The Church and the World – The Priestly Office – The Church and Ecumenism – The Church as Family of God.