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Built on the Word:
The theology and use of the Bible
in the Australian Anglican
Fresh Expressions of Church

TUENO, GUERIN,JAMES (2015) Built on the Word:
The theology and use of the Bible
in the Australian Anglican
Fresh Expressions of Church.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The Fresh Expressions of Church are a new form of Anglican church planting that emphasises an incarnational or encultured methodology which recognises that simply repeating existing patterns fails to connect to the majority of society. However, within both the Church of England and the Anglican Church of Australia, the Fresh Expressions movement has been attacked as being illegitimate owing to its extra-parochial nature.
This thesis argues that the parochial system is not the defining feature of Anglicanism, and that the debate should be refocused on the Anglican Formularies as the normative expression of the Church’s theology and practice. Central to these Formularies is the authority and use of Scripture. So this thesis argues that in considering the legitimacy of the Fresh Expressions movement attention needs instead to be given to the Anglican Church of Australia’s espoused theology and practice regarding the Bible. These beliefs are then to be brought into dialogue with practices of the Fresh Expression churches.
While due weight is given to the academic debate around Anglican identity, this research focuses instead on practice; espoused belief is an insufficient measure of ecclesial identity and churches need to be considered through what they do. This research was carried out in three Fresh Expression churches and one Inherited church, all of which belong to the Anglican Church of Australia. Field research was conducted through a questionnaire followed by participant-observer work.
The Fresh Expression churches considered in this thesis express positive Anglican identity through their use of the Bible and through another core feature of Anglican identity and practice – that is, the ordination injunction from the Church of England ‘to proclaim the gospel afresh to each generation’. ‘Afresh’ does not simply mean repeating the message, but rather is a process that can only be done through giving due weight to the social, economic, and educational factors that inform each individual church’s area or network of ministry.
The contention of this thesis is that the Fresh Expression churches considered individually display some aspects of Anglican identity through their practices and thus encourage the movement as a whole to reflect on how to more fully express their place in the Anglican family. This thesis also argues for the central importance of the authorised leadership in maintaining Anglican identity through practice while engaging in enculturated mission and ministry.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Theology and Ministry
Keywords:Fresh Expressions of Church, Mission-Shaped Church, Church of England, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglicanism, Anglican Formularies, Anglican identity, practical theology, Inherited Church, Emerging Church
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 May 2015 11:02

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