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date: 24 June 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that evangelical ecclesiology is congregationalist in form, and ultimately “free church” in its associative motives and meanings. This is not merely a sociological evaluation. It derives from a consideration of evangelicalism's theological impulses and commitments. This article first traces historically some of the theological building blocks, initiated in the Reformation that lay behind what became a full-blown evangelical ecclesial atomism. It outlines John Owen's late seventeenth-century Congregationalist ecclesiology as an exemplar for later evangelical ecclesial presuppositions. It also discusses eschatology, evangelism, and pre-millennialism before concluding by enumerating certain evangelical ecclesiological distinctions and challenges. It should be recognized that what evangelical scholars say, for example, about the sacraments, and what evangelical Christians do are often very different, given the lack of common teaching structures within most evangelical churches.

Keywords: John Owen, evangelical ecclesiology, atomism, sacraments, evangelicalism, sacraments, evangelical churches, eschatology, Reformation, evangelism

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