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Title: The role of the spiritual senses in contemporary mission, with particular reference to John Wesley's employment of the spiritual senses : a revised correlational approach
Author: Hanover, Jacqueline
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 6737
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the potential role of the spiritual senses in contemporary mission. Responding to the development of a new type of non-religious spirituality known as contemporary spirituality, which has emerged in response to cultural change in the West, this thesis enters into a conversation between contemporary spirituality, contemporary Christianity and John Wesley's theme of the spiritual senses. The theme of the spiritual senses has a rich history and this thesis aims to discover if a revisit of Wesley's particular employment of the spiritual senses has the potential to offer a meaningful contribution to Christian mission in the twenty-first century. Using Gordon Lynch's application of Don Browning's revised correlation, seven key motifs within contemporary spirituality are identified as foundational and used to develop the conversation. The thesis proceeds to use these motifs namely, creation spirituality, individualism freedom and choice, innate spiritual perception, the physical senses and spirituality, the sacred within, a call to community, and religious pluralism, to embark on a conversation between contemporary spirituality and contemporary Christianity. In all of the key areas points of convergence are noted, along with some differences, and suggestions are made concerning further engagement. It is argued that, whilst the findings of this conversation, and the practical applications that flow from them, can be used to engage with contemporary spiritual seekers, nevertheless all would benefit from a renewed framework that responds more particularly to the foundational motifs of contemporary spirituality and that Wesley's application of the spiritual senses might offer this framework. Following this, an investigation of Wesley's employment of the spiritual senses, in his own terms, is embarked upon, where his key tenets are discovered. This section confirms the unity between the spiritual senses and the restoration of the life and image of God, moving from complete cognitive unawareness of God or the spiritual world, through prevenient grace to awakening and the new birth including faith, assurance and sanctification. These basic tenets are then developed showing the spiritual senses to be drawn from the creative moment, personal and yet inclusive, accessible, experiential, centered on both healing and forgiveness, based on the value of the individual, freedom, and choice, based on restored, intimate, and ongoing relationship with the creator, facilitating transformation, communal, and working in harmony with reason. Given the similarities to the key motifs of contemporary spirituality, it is affirmed that Wesley's theme of the spiritual senses has potential to make a significant contribution to the conversation between contemporary spirituality and contemporary Christianity. Finally the conversation between all three parties is developed. Here the information gathered in the previous conversation is correlated and synthesised to specifically identify the contribution that the spiritual senses might offer to contemporary mission. Based on the findings of the conversation, a reconstructed gospel message is presented that, it is argued, both correlates with the aspirations of contemporary spirituality and yet is grounded in the Christian tradition, thus affirming the significance of the role of the spiritual senses to contemporary mission.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Revised Correlation ; Nonreligious Spirituality ; John Wesley and the Spiritual Senses ; Contemporary Mission ; Spiritual Senses