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Title: A problem-solving approach to pastoral care, with emphasis on the social context of Christian ministry
Author: Ives, Peter B.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1979
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This thesis presents a new approach to pastoral care called problem-solving. Part I begins with a discussion of the nature and purpose of pastoral ministry, then looks at methods of care in the field of social work practice. Problem-solving is discussed as a comprehensive and flexible model for pastoral care; a process that can be adapted to work with individuals, groups, and the community at large, and thereby a means of expressing the social concerns of the Christian Gospel. Part II presents a theory of human behavior for interpreting and explaining problems encountered in ministry. The theory is the product of an interdisciplinary approach which correlates insights from systematic theology with insights from the social and psychological sciences. Two fundamental units of interaction, the human relationship and social transaction, are examined in the theological perspective. Several diagnostic tools are presented for analyzing problem situations in social and theological context. Part III sketches in broad outline a program for pastoral ministry that integrates the three generic methods of social work practice: casework, group work, and community work into one comprehensive approach to pastoral care. In distinction from Part II, here is a theory about how behaviour can be changed or modified in the act of care - it is, in other words, practice theory. Illustrations and examples are provided which are based on my experience as a minister and community worker in the city of Glasgow. Part IV discusses the writings of three major pastoral theologians: Eduard Thurneysen, Thomas Oden, and Seward Hiltner. The work of each author is presented and then critiqued in regards to methodology, knowledge base, practice theory, and theological frame of reference. The preference is for a methodology which encourages two-way dialogue and correlation between theology and the human sciences; a theory of human behavior which includes insights from both psychology and the social sciences; a practice theory that can be adapted to human needs at different levels of social involvement; and a theological frame of reference which expresses the social dimensions of God's plan for the world. The purpose of this section is also to draw attention to a two-fold danger, commonly found in much of pastoral literature, of doing pastoral theology from a static, closed, and individualistic perspective or with no systematic theological frame of reference at all. Part V seeks to avoid this two-fold danger by adopting a new theological framework for pastoral ministry. Pastoral care is described as a ministry of word-in-deed in response to a theological understanding of God's Word as God's deeds in the midst of human events. Attention is directed to the importance and purpose of the "world" in God's redemptive plan and the Church is described as an instrument of God's mission to the world. The aims and goals of pastoral care are discussed in the context of the Kingdom of God and problem-solving is seen as a mode of preparation; a way of becoming intentional about the demands of Christian ministry. This section completes the search for a new frame of reference by offering a theology of the Word which is dynamic in perspective and social in scope.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available