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Religious Lobbies and Public Churches

Religious Lobbies and Public Churches

Ecclesiology Matters

(p.231) Chapter Seven Religious Lobbies and Public Churches
Public Pulpits
University of Chicago Press

Ecclesiology matters. It leads United Methodists to fight for the soul of their church, not only to struggle over abortion and gay ordination, social justice and world missions. It frames their fighting. They contest their connectional covenant through conflicting appeals to the apostolic authority of Scripture, to episcopal leadership, congregational community, General Conference rules and representation, and the Catholic spirit of Christian love. More broadly, ecclesiology marks off the mainline Protestant denominations from religious lobbies on the Christian right, but also from mainstream parachurch groups such as Bread for the World and non-religious liberal advocacy groups such as the Children's Defense Fund. It articulates their soteriological integrity as the Body of Christ into different sorts of social bodies, each with its own stance and history of growth, and each with its own moral map of the society surrounding it.

Keywords:   ecclesiology, United Methodists, social justice, Scripture, Bread for the World, Children's Defense Fund, Protestant denominations, Christian right, parachurch groups

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