Participation: Epistemology and Mission Theology
Peter J. Bellini

Asbury Theological Seminary Series:

The Study of World Christian Revitalization Movements in Wesleyan & Pietist Studies (No. 2)

 

Paperback Edition: ISBN 978-0981958293   Retail: $40.00

 

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It is uncommon to find a study in revitalization that emerges from the world of a pastor ministering within a racially divided inner city congregation which also builds upon such formidable foundations as an in-depth analysis of the malaise of contemporary Western civilization, based upon its modern and post modern ideological and philosophical underpinnings. And, from that grounding, it is a study that proceeds to offer a cogent diagnosis of an (if not the) intellectual problem lying at its epicenter. This is precisely what Peter Bellini’s study sets forth.

The author identifies that challenge as the demise of a concern for ontology amid a preoccupation with epistemology which, as he demonstrates, characterizes the philosophical consensus dominating that civilization, particularly since the Enlightenment. It is also extraordinary to have set forth as a valuable resource for remedying that dilemma an Eastern ascetic theologian, who is further shown to provide resource for rethinking a theology of mission for the present day, viewed within the parameters of the theology of John Wesley. Bellini’s work addresses all of the above, and does so within the framework of recovering the apostolic concept of participation in Christ, from the standpoint of what he calls a Radical Orthodoxy perspective.

 In short, this is a study that does not stop with a cogent cultural evaluation and critique, but also offers a prescriptive response. He finds in Maximus the Confessor a “participatory view of ontology, in continuity with a Christological ontology of participation”, which has special relevance for the global Christianity of the twenty first century. Following Maximus, as well as Wesley’s prevenient grace, Bellini champions a worldview that discerns within every culture some “point of similarity” or contact, “however vague, wounded or fallen,” with the universal witness of the Holy Spirit.

-J. Steven O'Malley, PhD

Director, Center for the Study of World Christian Revitalization Movement

 

 

About the Author:

Peter J. Bellini received his B.A. in English from the Ohio State University, the M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary with a specialization in Urban North America. Bellini is a mission theologian and serves as Senior Pastor of Westville United Methodist Church and Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies at United Theological Seminary in Ohio. He is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and has served in urban ministry for 21 years. Dr. Bellini has been a leader in every facet of ministry, including new church starts, church turnarounds, mergers, local church renewal, discipleship and leadership training, inner city and global missions and several marketplace ministries.

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