Journal of Anglican Studies

Research Article

Mission-Shaped or Paul-Shaped? Apostolic Challenges to the Mission-Shaped Church

Fergus J. King c11


John M. Hull has raised a number of criticisms about the understanding of worship found in Mission-Shaped Church: Church Planting and Fresh Expressions of Church in a Changing Context. In this article, some of these criticisms are explored further. Analysis of Paul’s proposed reforms to the Lord’s Supper in Corinth show that worship must address social concerns and not focus exclusively on a God-ward aspect. Paul does this by describing the Lord’s Supper as a paradigm for behaviour and world-view using the Greek symposium tradition. Paul’s response to the Corinthian situation raises questions about the suitability of the Homogeneous Unit Principle and its role in mission, as do aspects of the controversy with Peter documented in Galatians 2. His wider exploration of the sacramental dimension of ritual meals (1 Cor. 10–11) further shows that worship cannot be divorced from ethics and behaviour if it is to be truly effective and based on Pauline principles

(Online publication November 15 2010)


  • Mission-Shaped Church;
  • Paul;
  • sacraments;
  • Homogeneous Unit Principle;
  • symposium tradition;
  • worship


1. Fergus J. King is Rector of the Parish of the Good Shepherd, Kotara South in the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle and Conjoint Lecturer in theology and religious studies at the University of Newcastle, specializing in New Testament and missiology.