What ecclesiological resources do we have for transforming the culture of the church? How can we reclaim the church as a collaborative and vulnerable space? Can we build a church where the mission of serving the reign of God and the relationships of community are more important than the preservation of the institution? In the light of these questions, this unit examines the theology of the church grounded in Jesus’ preaching of God’s kingdom / reign and oriented to the mission of that kingdom. It will explore New Testament images and metaphors for the church and historical and contemporary models of church and mission. The ecclesiological documents of the Second Vatican Council will be assessed both for what they contribute to the quest for a humbler church, and for what they fail to resolve. The issues flowing from the conflicting receptions of Vatican II will be assessed before examining the contribution of Pope Francis and Evangelii Gaudium.

Unit code: CT2016Y

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Delivery Mode: Blended

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the church


Analyse a variety of theological approaches to church and mission


Discuss the ecclesiological significance and contribution of Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes.


Articulate a theology of the nature and mission of the church

Unit sequence

One level 1 CT unit


Face to face and online synchronous, flipped classroom

Indicative Bibliography

  • Avis, Paul. Jesus and the Church. The Foundation of the Church in the New Testament and Modern Theology. London: T&T Clark, 2021
  • Fuellenbach, John. Church, Community for the Kingdom. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002.
  • Gaillardetz, Richard R., and Edward P. Hahnenberg. A Church With Open Doors: Catholic Ecclesiology for the Third Millenium. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical/ Michael Glazier, 2015.
  • Kasper, Walter. The Catholic Church. Nature, Reality and Mission. London: Bloomsbury/ T & T Clark, 2015.
  • Kung, Hans. The Church. London: Burns & Oates, 1967.
  • Lakeland, Paul. A Council That Will Never End: Lumen Gentium and the Church Today. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical/ Michael Glazier, 2013.
  • Mannion, Gerard (ed) Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism. Evangelii Gaudium and the Papal Agenda. Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2017
  • Phan, Peter, ed. The Gift of the Church. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2000.
  • Pickard, Stephen. Seeking the Church. An Introduction to Ecclesiology. London: SCM, 2012.
  • Rausch, Thomas. Towards a Truly Catholic Church. An Ecclesiology for the Third Millennium. Collegeville MN, Liturgical Press, 2005


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Minor Essay (1,000 words)

1000 30.0

Summative Essay (500 words)

500 20.0

Major Essay (2,500 words)

2500 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 20 Jun, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-06-30 12:43:44 +1000