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The Secular CitySecularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective$
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Harvey Cox

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158853

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158853.001.0001

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The Church as God’s Avant-Garde

The Church as God’s Avant-Garde

(p.148) Chapter 6 The Church as God’s Avant-Garde
The Secular City

Harvey Cox

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the three elements of the church's task as avant-garde—kerygma, diakonia, and koinonia—and how they work out in a typical urban setting. The word kerygma means “message.” The church, like any avant-garde, has a story it is trying to get across. It is telling people what is coming, what to expect next. Diakonia refers to the act of healing and reconciling, binding up wounds and bridging chasms. In the case of the secular city, diakonia means the responsibility of the church for effecting a “ministry of communication” which will bring back into reciprocity the fragmented pieces of what is essentially a functioning whole. Lastly, the Greek word koinonia is usually translated “fellowship.” It designates that aspect of the church's responsibility in the city which calls for a visible demonstration of what the church is saying in its kerygma and pointing to in its diakonia.

Keywords:   church, avant-garde, kerygma, diakonia, koininia, communication

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