Ecclesiology is the study of the church which explores the origins, nature, and purposes of the church universal. Its method includes developing categories to indicate the attributes of the church, as e.g. one, holy, catholic, and apostolic; the people of God; and the fellowship of the spirit. One aim of ecclesiology is to teach and help us understand what may be authentic, required, permissible, or appropriate church structures, such as in ministry, government, discipleship, evangelism, worship, and teaching. Legal theology might be considered to be a branch of ecclesiology. Many scholars refer to church law as applied ecclesiology, and in so doing they speak of a “theology of church law” and a “theology in church law.” The former is a doctrinal and perhaps more speculative exercise; the latter is more descriptive and scientific.
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