Baptismal and Missional Ecclesiology in the American Book of Common Prayer

Bibliographic information:

Schlesinger, Eugene R. “Baptismal and Missional Ecclesiology in the American Book of Common Prayer.” Ecclesiology 9, no. 2 (2015): 177-198.



I argue that the ecclesiology expressed in the American 1979 Book of Common Prayer is, in addition to being a baptismal ecclesiology, also inherently missional. After briefly attending to debates about patterns of initiation, I turn my attention to the prayer book’s theology of ministry, wherein all ecclesial ministry is rooted in baptismal identity. I weigh the relative merits of considering the laity as an ‘order’ within the Church, and consider the diaconal nature of the Church and its mission. I finally pursue the connections between between a baptismal ecclesiology and Christian mission. This involves a consideration of the prayer book’s baptismal liturgy (with particular reference to the baptismal covenant), and of the fact that baptism implicates the Church in mission because it implicates Christians in the paschal mystery.


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