AbstractSince the late 20th century information technology has changed the lives of individuals and relationships at local, nation and even global levels. In particular the internet is used by many religious groups for theological and spiritual purposes. Some parts of Christianity have confronted the issue of how to deal with the use of internet. As a result, an internet church has emerged, offering Eucharistic services online across the globe. Even though the numbers of internet churches/Eucharistic groups have sharply increased in the last two decades, the attitude of the established churches does not appear to have taken account of this change yet. To achieve this it is necessary for such initiatives to be guided by certain theological norms or church regulations. This may relate to the definition of church, Eucharistic theology, or how to deal with emerging cultures. However, no public theological agreement about the development of a cyberspace Eucharist ecumenically, or even within single denominations such as the Methodist church, has yet been achieved. This thesis sets out to explore the possibility of developing of an internet Eucharist within the context of John Wesley’s Eucharistic theology, practice and fervor for communion. Wesley’s Eucharistic theology and practice were not simply his own idea or preference. Rather he derived them from various resources from the early Christian to the period of his own life. He also understood the Eucharist in relation to his own engagement with the changing society of his own time. In this context he developed his Methodist Societies as Eucharistic communities within the understanding of the means of grace: instituted and prudential. This study will not only give justification for the online Eucharist, but will also try to investigate how Wesley’s theology and practice can inform the practice and theology of the online Eucharist.
Kioh (2013) John Wesley’s Eucharist and the online Eucharist. Ph.D. thesis
University of Birmingham.