Liquid Ecclesiology Pete Ward explores the theological contours of the turn to ethnography in the study of the Christian Church. His approach rests on a theology of culture that holds in tension and paradox the expression of the Church and divine presence. This theological framework is then developed through an extended qualitative empirical case study examining the communicative practices of the contemporary evangelical Church. The case study examines how the evangelical Gospel through expression has become marginalised in the everyday life of communities being replaced by a new more individual and personalised theology seen in worship songs. The final section of the book returns to the debates around ethnographic forms of theology and the question of normativity. This book will be of interest to all those engaged in empirical and theological work, as well as those researching the contemporary Church and evangelicalism
Pete Ward is a Professorial Fellow at Durham University and Professor of Practical Theology at MF The Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo. He is the author of a number of books on the study of the contemporary Church including
Liquid Church (2002).
"Pete Ward is one of today’s exciting and ground-breaking voices in practical theology and ethnographic ecclesiology. In this profound and thought-provoking book, he engages with the key issues in studying the changing nature of the contemporary church. This is a rich and rewarding book that will repay careful study and sustained attention."
- The Very Revd Prof. Martyn Percy, The Dean,
Christ Church, Oxford, March 2017.
"Whether in print or in person, Pete Ward will always make you think—flipping concepts, making connections, and breaking open the meaning of common Christian cultural practices often overlooked. He is known around the world for his unique ecclesiology, and this new volume promises an exciting new dimension to it. Liquid Ecclesiology is a book that will challenge you, as Pete always does, making you see things differently."
- Professor Andrew Root,
Luther Seminary, March 2017.
"Pete Ward’s compelling study is written from the midst of the church’s life – a life lived in complex interaction with the whole of culture as much as in gathered worship. It is a passionate call to recognise and to celebrate the way in which any serious ecclesiology exists in fluid negotiation with the whole of this life."
- Professor Mike Higton,
Durham University, March 2017.
"Liquid Ecclesiology displays how crucial it is for theology to take the empirical church seriously. Through a theologically ethnographic study of an evangelical church Ward explores the inevitable change that constitutes Christian community, showing how change as fluidity can be deeply constructive, not at odds with the continuity of faith."
- Professor Mary McClintock Fulkerson,
Duke University, May 2017.
Table of contents
Part I -
Currents in a Liquid Ecclesiology
1. The Gospel and the Church
2. The Gospel as Paradox and Light
3. Making Church: Gospel, Construction, and Ecclesial Fluidity
4. The Material Nature of the Gospel
Part II -
Discerning the Liquid Church: A Case Study
5. The Gospel and Change
6. Personal Faith
7. Narratives of Encounter
8. Evaluating the Case Study
Part III -
Abiding in a Liquid Ecclesiology
9. The Call to Abide
10. Seeing and Learning: Theological Education in the Church
This book will be essential reading for all of those working in the area of empirical and theological research. It will also be of interest to those in Practical Theology, Ecclesiology and those with and interest in contemporary evangelicalism.