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Stephen Sykes chastised English (especially Anglican) theology for its neglect of systematic and doctrinal theology and worked for its revival. He viewed the liberal tendency in English theology in the 1960s and 1970s as attributable, at least in part, to lack of doctrinal rigour and to ecclesiastical woolliness. Sykes contributed to methodological reflection on systematic theology, but his occasional forays into systematics were not his major efforts. However, one systematic theological topic to which Sykes made a significant contribution was the question of the essence of Christianity, which he pursued in critical dialogue with a galaxy of modern theologians. His account of the essence in relation to the ‘external’ and ‘internal’ aspects of Christianity is not satisfactory and his conclusion that the essence is an ‘essentially contested concept’ is disappointing. Nevertheless, his discussion sheds light on the problem and remains a stimulus and resource for further work on this topic.

In: Ecclesiology
In: Ecclesiology
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This article undertakes a critical exploration of the current relationship between ecclesiology and ‘ecclesial ethnography’. It begins by proposing that ecclesiology should be a realistic, critical and practical discipline and that in these respects it can learn from ethnographical principles. It goes on to raise some questions about how the relationship between ecclesial ethnography and ecclesiology is presented in some recent literature, pointing out instances of over-drawn distinctions, exaggerated claims and methodological naivety. It concludes by affirming the vital role of ethnographical study to the overall theological investigation of the church and suggests that this would be strengthened if the weaknesses mentioned above were addressed.

In: Ecclesiology
In: Ecclesiology
In: Ecclesiology
In: Ecclesiology
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The purpose of this article is to bring to light the ecclesiological reality of cathedrals, with a main focus on the Church of England. It initiates a concise ecclesiological discussion of the following aspects of the English, Anglican cathedrals: (a) the cathedral as a church of Christ; (b) the place and role of the cathedral within the diocese; (c) the relationship between the cathedral and the diocesan bishop; (d) the mission of the cathedral. The article concludes with a brief reflection on (e) the cathedral as the ‘mother church’ of the diocese.

In: Ecclesiology