As the church is moving towards its 21st century of existence, it is confronted by challenges it has never known before. Globalization, the rise of different socio-political orders and a growing tendency towards a post-modern understanding of the world are but some of the issues. This changing world demands self-reflection from the church. It has to consider its place, identity and function, thereby giving rise to the exploration of its mission. In this thesis, the ecclesiology of Karl Barth is explored. By considering Barth’s understanding of the church’s relationship with different parties such as God, other religions, those outside the Christian faith, the State and its own inner dynamics, the church will be reminded of its missionary function in the world. The church’s relationships are important for they direct the way in which it fits into the world. When it considers that it exists purely because of God’s self-revelation, and that its own existence is an act of faith in response to this divine self-disclosure, it becomes aware of defined parameters within which the church can operate under the banner of mission. Mission is therefore much bigger than the notion of evangelism, which is one part of the church’s role. Where evangelism concerns the physical activity of the church’s proclamation, its mission describes its identity and function in bearing testimony to its Lord. Identity and function are not self-generated characteristics and neither is mission. Karl Barth has given a tremendous gift by exploring the Christian faith, the God whom it serves, the church within which it operates, and the world that it exists in. It is the author’s belief that no other work is as comprehensive and descriptive of the church’s place, both in relation to God and the world. This thesis explores this gift and searches for answers concerning the church’s mission that will be helpful and relevant in today’s world. This is necessary if the church seeks to be relevant and effective, speaking to new challenges, and a new World 129. Copyright 2007, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria. Please cite as follows: Bentley, W 2007, The notion of mission in Karl Barth's ecclesiology, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10162007-151230 / >
Thesis (PhD (Dogmatics and Christian Ethics))--University of Pretoria, 2007.