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Title: A contextual reading of John Wesley's theology and the emergent church : critical reflections on the emergent church movement in respect to aspects of Wesley's theology, ecclesiology and urban poverty
Author: Latz, Deirdre Brower
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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Abstract:
This thesis surveys facets of the eighteenth century English social context in order to offer a reading of Wesley as a contextual theologian. It explores distinctive aspects of Wesley's theology related to his ecclesiological practice. Wesley's ecclesiology affects his understanding of how and why the church should and does respond to (particularly urban) poverty. In considering his praxis, a model of good practice begins to emerge, both of churchmanship and of considerations and responses to poverty and people living within it. Picking up the eighteenth century analysis and overlaying it on selected aspects of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, analogous patterns become evident in social history, both for Christianity and of poverty (again, especially urban poverty). This thesis focuses particularly on one response to cultural change experienced within the Christian church in the West, the emergent church movement, which is a relatively recent phenomenon. The movement is defined and then considered in its approach to ecclesiology and to the poor. Within the framework of analogy developed the thesis offers a critique of the emergent church movement in relation to key theological developments, and critically reflects on the movement in respects to particular theological elements that are crucial to Wesley. From this critique and comparison the thesis concludes that if the emergent church movement and its successors willingly engage with Wesley and learn from him as a contextual theologian, then they would be better equipped to be a reforming movement for the whole church. This would also enable them to be intentionally transformational for communities and people socially excluded by poverty in the twenty-first century setting. Because the reading of Wesley establishes him as a contextual theologian, whose theology is inseparable from his praxis and shapes it, the thesis contends that the emergent church movement can learn from this. Wesley's orthopraxis - particularly how he relates to his specific historical context and how to help the poor, as essential characteristics of being a Christian church - then offers a powerful paradigm for the emergent church movement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.508712  DOI: Not available
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