This unit will explore the roots of the church in the messianic ministry of risen, crucified Jesus Christ and the sending of the Spirit. Attention will be given to the classical marks of the church (one, holy, catholic and apostolic) as well as to the particular marks noted by the Reformers (preaching and sacraments). Church-dividing disputes around sacraments and ministry will be noted. The character and history of minority ancient Christian communities (e.g. India, China, Ethiopia) will also be addressed. Attention will turn to the twentieth-century emergence of churches in the global south and the postChristendom realities faced by mainline churches in lands marked by “Western culture” (with particular reference to the Uniting Church in Australia). Consideration of these developments will assist our critical examination both of classical ecclesiologies and of developing contemporary approaches to the body of Christ.

Unit code: CT2080P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the origins of the church in the messianic ministry of Jesus


Explain the classical and the Reformed marks of the church


Describe the shifts in ecclesiological reflection prompted by the emergence of the non-Western churches during the twentieth century


Communicate the ways a post-Christendom ecclesiology can be developed in the context of a global church.

Unit sequence

CT1000P or CT1009P


Lectures, Seminars, Tutorials

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bediako, Kwame. Christianity in Africa: The Renewal of a non-Western Religion. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995.
  • Bradbury, John. Perpetually Reforming: A Theology of Church Reform and Renewal. London: Bloomsbury, 2013.
  • Hill, Graham. Salt, Light and a City: Introducing Missional Ecclesiology. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2012.
  • Idowu, E. Bolaji. Towards an Indigenous Church. London: Oxford University Press, 1965.
  • Irvin, Dale T. “From One Story to Many: An Ecumenical Reappraisal of Church History.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 28, no. 4 (1991): 537–54.
  • Kalu, Ogbu U. “Preserving a Worldview: Pentecostalism in the African Maps of the Universe.” Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 24, no. 2 (2002): 110–37.
  • Miller, Vincent J. “Where Is the Church? Globalization and Catholicity.” Theological Studies 69, no. 2 (2008): 412–32.
  • Sanneh, Lamin O. Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009.
  • Thiessen,Gesa. Apostolic and Prophetic: Ecclesiological Perspectives. Cambridge: James Clark, 2012.
  • Watson, Natalie. Introducting Feminist Ecclesiology. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 1996.
  • White, James F. Sacraments in Protestant Practice and Faith. Nashville: Abingdon, 1999.
  • World Council of Churches. The Church: Towards a Common Vision. Geneva: World Council of Churches, 2013.
  • Yoder, John Howard. Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Community Before the Watching World. Nahsville: Discipleship Resources, 1992.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

1000 words collation of tutorial reflections

0 25.0

2500 words research essay on the global, post-Christendom church

0 50.0
Learning Resource

1000 words web resource or study guide on biblical roots of ecclesiology

0 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-04-05 14:01:45 +1100