This thesis explores the missional ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement and its relationship to Evangelicalism. The rise of post-Christendom, post-modernism and the increasing marginalisation of the church in Western Culture has created a situation where it needs to ask the basic missiological questions of its own identity and structures. In contrast to many within traditional Evangelicalism, the Emerging Church Movement views these changes as a positive development and, in a social context much more akin to that of the early church, an opportunity to rediscover the essential nature of its calling as Church. It is in a narrative reading of Scripture and understanding of Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God that the ECM believes the answers are to be found. As a result, the ECM finds itself working through a gradual process of dismantling and reconstructing the faith of their Evangelical heritage as they reflect on the meaning of the gospel as they see it expressed in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and His interpretation of the Old Testament narrative. For the ECM, the gospel is much bigger than merely personal salvation and is best understood as God's great and gracious mission in the world of making new all that has been corrupted by sin and evil. Missional churches realise that they have been invited to participate with God in his redemptive mission and formulate their identity, structures and values accordingly. The ECM engages in intentional , subversive ministry from its new place at the margins of society flowing from the realisation that mission is not an activity to be carried out by members of the church in certain contexts, but rather the essential character and calling of the church community wherever it may exist.
Dissertation (MA(Theol))--University of Pretoria, 2010.