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date: 09 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the nature of the church in Methodist experience and practice from the origins of Methodism as a network of religious societies in the eighteenth century to its present day self-understanding as a global communion of churches. The article discusses: (1) the Wesleyan foundations of Methodist ecclesiology; (2) methods, sources, and norms in Methodist theological reflection on the church; (3) how Methodists interpret the credal marks of the church; (4) the ordained ministry; and (5) the means of grace and authority. A concluding section considers the future agenda for ecclesiology as a branch of practical theology in Methodism. Confident in its providential mission to spread scriptural holiness and ecumenical in outlook, Methodism remains in essence a holiness movement in search of its true ecclesial location in the Holy Catholic Church.

Keywords: holiness, John Wesley, marks of the church, Methodist ecclesiology, ministry, ordination, sacraments

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