from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The branch of theology that is concerned with the nature, constitution, and functions of a church.
- n. The study of ecclesiastical architecture and ornamentation.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The branch of theology concerned with the doctrines, role etc. of a church.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The science or theory of church building and decoration.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The science of the church as an organized society, and of whatever relates to its outward expression or manifestation.
- n. The science of church architecture and decoration.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the branch of theology concerned with the nature and the constitution and the functions of a church
One of the best documents to read for those who have questions about Catholic ecclesiology is Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church; it was an essential text for me when I was working though many questions in my journey to and into the Catholic Church.
The most in-depth study of Ratzinger's ecclesiology is likely Joseph Ratzinger: Life in the Church and Living Theology, Fundamentals of Ecclesiology, by Maximilian Heinrich Heim, which for $12 (the current online price) is a steal.
I recently reviewed O'Malley's book for a graduate course in ecclesiology.
Such Orthodox complain that, in the Catholic Church, there is only one bishop with many auxiliaries; but historically as well as today, Rome has exerted much less de facto authority over local ordinaries than popular notions of papal supremacy would suggest; and given her official ecclesiology, that is as it should be.
But the point is that the phenomenon of discovering Christ outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church does nothing to call the ecclesiology of said Church into question.
Central to his ecclesiology is the impossibility of determining the presence of grace in another's soul, which militates against identifying members of the elect with certainty, and therefore against excommunicating any of them from the Church, as well as ruling out popular election as a means of instituting just civil dominium.
This is case in point of the need for good biblical scholarship in the field (s) of missiology and ecclesiology, that is, good missional theology.
I contend that the formula "ecclesiology" is fraught with epistemological assumptions (modern Enlightenment) that lead us to the very problem (individualist oriented salvation leading to pragmatic Christianity) the phrase was intended to avert in the first place.
If we wish to minister under the "ecclesiology" moniker how do we navigate these contexts?
3. As an implicit theology, what is our "ecclesiology"?