Culture in ecclesiological self-understanding : the core of Brian McLaren's practical theology

Macallan, Brian (2006-12)

Thesis (M. Th.)--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.

Thesis

CONCLUSION: Everyone of us who call ourselves Christians are faced with the perplexing questions with regard to the church’s self understanding and how that is interconnected and related to culture. We either ignore these questions, or we seek to work out what that means in an ever changing and dynamic world. McLaren has sought to do this and for this he must be commended. Although throughout this work one might feel that in my evaluation I have been too generous, or that I have tempered my criticism where others would have felt I could have been more critical, I am still convinced that anyone who is at least asking these questions is worthy of respect and only tempered criticism. My bias of course is obvious as McLaren’s work has helped me make sense of my world and the nature of church. Despite this I have shown throughout where I believe McLaren might be lacking or where he could be placing more focus. I have also shown where I believe much of his early work was skewed in certain directions and how over time his perspectives have become more rounded and holistic. Of course I have been liberal in my praise for many of the areas where I believe he is doing well. I have attempted to capture the core of McLaren’s practical theology by utilizing Hendrick’s practical theological methodology. This has helped us get to grips with his view of God and Church, the nature and interpretation of global and local cultural contexts and how we discern our practice in tension with tradition and scripture. We have also been able to explore McLaren’s views of the kingdom and transforming action within society. The future of the Church has demanded such a discussion and will always require such a conversation into the future. My hope has been that by understanding the core of McLaren’s theology the benefit would be both personal and corporate. Personal in the sense that I would be challenged and informed in my own praxis as I wrestle with personal concerns around culture and ecclesiology. Corporate in that others who are facing similar challenges would be able to dialogue with McLaren in a way that will be helpful and informative for those dealing with the same questions I am. I believe that McLaren’s work is vital for this process and for the health of the church and the world.

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