Fresh Expressions of Church are most significant development in the Church of England in recent decades. Many have called for a thorough theological engagement with the movement. The Church of England is engaging in radical new departures when the ecclesiological thinking for such experiments is far from complete. Parishes are the mainstay of the 'inherited church'. Frequently they are belittled and cast as either unhelpful or irrelevant. The authors argue for the vitality of the parish, both for mission and for discipleship. The authors argue that the forms of the church are to be an embodiment of her faith. They should therefore be more determined by our theological traditions than by the surrounding culture. They show that the traditions of the parish church represent ways in which time, space, community are ordered in relation to God and the gospel.
The Revd Dr Andrew Davison is the Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, Fellow in Theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Canon Philosopher of St Albans Abbey.
'Davison and Milbank show how the Fresh Expressions and Emerging Church movements have compounded mistakes in soteriology and ecclesiology, generating a flight into segregation, and a flight away from tradition... [They] have produced a book of breathtaking contrasts. In terms of mood, it is simultaneously dour and lively; serious, yet amusingly and deeply ironic; punchy, yet wise; thoughtful, yet discursive... this book is something of a tour de force that really does need engaging with. It should be widely read, studied, and meditated upon: deeply.'