Missio Dei: laying a Foundation for a Missional Ecclesiology of the Church of the Brethren
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In the midst of the turbulent changes of the contemporary pluralist society, the church is preoccupied by the pressing issue regarding her identity and role in our time. The West that used to be considered the stronghold of Christianity is again a mission field. This situation calls for the thorough reconsideration of our ecclesiology. Since the second half of the 20th century, the theology of mission has become the main source for rethinking of ecclesiology. The goal of this thesis is to lay a foundation for a missional ecclesiology of the Church of the Brethren (Církev bratrská), an Evangelical church active in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. My premises are that the triune God is a missionary God and that ecclesiology has to be subordinated to missiology. Therefore, I approach the ecclesiology of the Church of the Brethren from the starting point of missio Dei. This study is divided into five parts. Part I introduces the research problem, presents used sources, specifies the method of the research and its ambition. Part II is dedicated to the presentation of the theology of the Church of the Brethren and then focuses on her missiology and ecclesiology. Part III deals with the origin and two different interpretations of missio Dei. Here, the concept of missio Dei as presented in the work of the British missiologist Lesslie Newbigin is outlined. Part IV aims at the intertextual constructive synthetic re-interpretation of the ecclesiology of the church of the Brethren from the perspective of Newbigin’s concept of missio Dei. Part V briefly summarizes the outcome of my work; the ecclesiology of the Church of the Brethren is formulated in terms of eschatological participation in the witness of the Holy Spirit to the Kingdom of the Father revealed and accomplished in the Son.