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Diakonia StudiesCritical Issues in Ministry$
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John N. Collins

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367573

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199367573.001.0001

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Theology of Ministry in the Twentieth Century: Ongoing Problems or New Orientations?

Theology of Ministry in the Twentieth Century: Ongoing Problems or New Orientations?

(p.165) 11 Theology of Ministry in the Twentieth Century: Ongoing Problems or New Orientations?
Diakonia Studies

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

The first World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh (1910) provided strong impetus toward an ecumenically agreed upon theology of ministry. From the first Faith and Order Conference (1927) to the Fourth (1963), an ecclesiological revolution occurred. Its distinguishing attainment was to locate the gift of ministry not in ordination or its equivalent but in baptism. This principle was derived from the New Testament term for ministry, diakonia, understood as a giving of self in service to others. In ecumenical circles, strong tensions developed about implications for ordained ministry. The linguistic study of 1990 (Collins, Diakonia) challenged the semantics underlying the consensus in providing a new semantic profile for an understanding of ecclesial ministry. Subsequent lexicography and Anni Hentschel’s semantic investigation (2007) has endorsed the re-interpretation. There are opportunities in the twenty-first century to make theological adjustments that could enrich the ministry with which the church is provisioned.

Keywords:   diakonia, ministry, ecclesiology, ecumenism, Faith and Order, Edinburgh Missionary Conference 1910, Barth, Hentschel

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