Marriage in the reformed tradition in Scotland with particular reference to the Scottish Synod of the URC

Tatton, Judith (Jake) L. (2014) Marriage in the reformed tradition in Scotland with particular reference to the Scottish Synod of the URC. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Drawing on a foundation of the history of Reformed marriage traditions and theology, as it has bearing on the Scottish Synod of the United Reformed Church, this dissertation aims to analyse the perspectives of members and clergy of the Synod on marriage, and offer a pastoral theology with which to make progress in the ongoing, topical, conversation around human sexuality. In particular, the aim is to unpack “what we mean by marriage”, how we discern Godʼs will and presence in our human relationships, and how the Church may better serve its members, in a world whose values at times appear somewhat at odds with those of the Church. The dissertation engages with the questions of scripture and tradition, creation ordinance and Covenant, and the ways that love and intimacy offer the potential for reconciliation with self, other and God. I will argue that marital-type relationships exist beyond the confines of the institution, as it is currently formulated, and utilise Paul Tillichʼs existentialist approach to argue that the moralism of Law must be superseded by the morality of Grace, as we uphold a progressive Reformed approach to human relationships. I will propose that the United Reformed Church, in Scotland and denominationally, has a responsibility to continue to reform, congruent with its tradition, and respond faithfully to the fresh ways in which the Spirit is revealing the Word of God and calling of the Church, in ever developing cultural contexts, specifically with the case of marriage. In practice, the empirical research of this dissertation will show that this process of ongoing reform is already at work within the Synod, both in the changing dynamics of relationship models present in our midst, and the level of faithful conversation, reflection and discernment taking place, at all levels of the Synod. Therefore, this dissertation will propose that further work must be undertaken, in the area of Reformed pastoral theology and sexual ethics, building upon the findings presented here. I believe that it is the responsibility of the Church to formulate theology and practice that encourages its members towards finding and maintaining healthy and stable relationships, no matter their classification, that may offer glimpses of the New Kingdom, as they foster reconciliation with Self, Other and God. This will require a reanalysis of dogma, tradition and the world we live in today, and require a good deal of courage.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Marriage, ethics, Reformed Tradition, Scotland, Scottish, Congregational Church, theology, sexuality, homosexuality, same sex marriage
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Methuen, Dr. Charlotte
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Ms Judith L Tatton
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5453
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2014 10:27
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2014 10:30
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/5453

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