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Title: Christianity, conflict and community : expressions of faith, identity and personhood in Northern Irish evangelicalism
Author: Foye, Hilary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 7123
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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This doctoral thesis provides a nuanced portrait of the conflicting worlds within Northern Irish evangelicalism. Based on 13 months of intensive ethnographic fieldwork, it offers a comparative investigation of the life of three evangelical churches in the Greater Belfast area: an inner-city Methodist Mission, a rural Pentecostal fellowship and a small-town independent Charismatic church. Parkview, Fields of Hope and City of God are contemporary expressions of the wider movement's generational, demographic and denominational diversity, yet at the same time are illustrative of evangelical concerns, across traditions, with 'authenticity', 'orthopathy' and 'difference' in the construction of their faith identities: they each define Christian person hood in relation to and as distinct from the 'world' and other 'Christian' groups. Such concerns surface in four key areas of evangelical discourse and practice, which are appropriated in varying ways according to contextual and congregational factors. First, I show how cognitive boundaries surrounding orthodoxy and conversional piety are shifting in light of denominational heritage, contact between traditions, and degrees of exposure to bounded and centred theological orientations. Secondly, I record conflicts between form and spontaneity and Charismatic or denominational values in a common quest for authentic worship. Thirdly, I analyse a mutual fixation on the Bible's authority and relevance as negotiated in intersections between personal and social sanctification. Finally, I expose the tensions between spiritual-evangelistic and socio-politico-economic priorities in evangelical activism. By accessing congregational conflicts arising from everyday applications of these four core aspects, then, this research project explores the world-making and world-breaking characteristics of Christianity as tangled in a web of tensions between denominational heritages, theological orientations, and internal and external community demographics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available