Prophet or heretic : a study of the theology of George MacDonald
Whereas most work on George MacDonald has focused on his literary genius, this thesis takes more of a theological direction. The literary nature of his work is not ignored however. Rather, his imaginative approach and his theology of the imagination are seen as significantly contributive to both his theological discernment and communication. The thesis gives a framework for this affirmation in clarifying the nature of the theological task and an overview of the life and influences on MacDonald in which literary and theological spheres were not seen as dichotomized but interrelated. It probes most deeply into MacDonald's theology of the atonement and his theology of the imagination, arguing that rather than being inconsistent with the nature of the Christian faith and theology (as has at times been claimed), for the most part he remains true to Scriptural revelation. Furthermore, because of his trinitarian centre, and this imaginative approach he is able to offer penetrating insights into areas which plague the Church today. Among these, are his words of prophetic wisdom to deal with issues such as theological use of the imagination, feminism, diversity, materialism, the environment, the nature of humanity, death and life after death. His style is admittedly ponderous at times, as to be expected of a Victorian writer, but the wisdom he expressed as he stood under the Truth, may deepen theological understanding today.