Item – Theses Canada

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Robson, Robert Brian.
The Temple, the Spirit and the People of the Presence of God :Examining Critical Options for a Pentecostal Ecclesiology.
(Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))--University of Toronto, 2012.
Toronto :University of Toronto,2012.
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Ecclesiology remains recognized as an underdeveloped area within the burgeoning field of Pentecostal theology, even as more voices are addressing it. This thesis explores the more significant proposals toward Pentecostal ecclesiology offered by various scholars, and then offers a constructive proposal: the church as the People of the manifest Presence of the Tri-une God. In this thesis, I propose to construct a distinct but ecumenically-friendly Pentecostal ecclesiology based upon the theological concept of the church as the People of God's Presence. The church is constituted by the "manifest" presence of the Holy Spirit among people whom the Spirit gathers, empowers and sends out in mission to the world. This ecclesiology builds specifically upon the description of a "third-stream of Christian tradition" first offered by Bishop Lesslie Newbigin in 1952. It is this very concept of the "recognizable" presence of the Holy Spirit "with power" as the defining constitution of the church which should inform a uniquely Pentecostal ecclesiology. The distinctive manner in which Pentecostals would understand this constitutive presence of the Spirit in the Church is at the heart of this project, so that it may be a unifying concept for the movement, and one that has potential for mutual edification in ecumenical dialogue. Such an understanding of the pneumatological basis for the church is represented well by the biblical image of the church as Temple of the Holy Spirit. An ecclesiology of the church as Temple is an effective way for Pentecostals to understand the marks of the church, its nature and its mission, order and ministries. This proposal is then briefly compared with other major church traditions, and is finally offered as a way in which Pentecostalism can both share and learn with and from these traditions toward greater confluence and cross-pollination, so that the Pentecostal church, as flawed as it may be, can contribute to the greater health of the whole church as the People of God's Presence which powerfully loves the world God desires to save.
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Holy Spirit.