Christian discipleship today: A study of the ethics of the Kingdom in the theologies of Stanley Hauerwas and Jon Sobrino

Kung, Lap Yan (1994) Christian discipleship today: A study of the ethics of the Kingdom in the theologies of Stanley Hauerwas and Jon Sobrino. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is twofold. First, it seeks to contend and illustrate the hermeneutical role of discipleship in theological reflection. Secondly, it seeks to examine and analyze the meaning of discipleship in terms of the ethical, missiological and theological dimensions. These are carried out through the study of the ethics of the Kingdom in the theologies of Stanley Hauerwas and Jon Sobrino. Chapter one of this thesis is concerned about the agent of the Kingdom in terms of spirituality and ecclesiology. For Hauerwas, Christian spirituality is primarily about the imitation of Christ in terms of character, vision and virtue, with particular emphasis on the Sermon on the Mount, while for Sobrino, Christian spirituality is principally about following the historical Jesus in terms of liberation, with particular reference to the jubilee proclamation. This basic difference in orientation unavoidably results in their different understanding of the church. Chapter two of this thesis discusses the theological use of model. In short, model refers to the means helping us to understand a subject, but it is not the subject itself. Although both Hauerwas and Sobrino do not particularly refer to the notion of model, Hauerwas' use of narrative and Sobrino's use of justice are examples of the use of the notion of model. Chapter three of this thesis examines the practice of the Kingdom. It asserts the primacy of praxis in theological reflection, provided that praxis is not understood as equivalent to pragmatism. Hauerwas' pacifism reveals his understanding of praxis in the context of the cultural-linguistic tradition. That is to say, Christian pacifism is solely built on its Christological foundation and primarily addressed to the Christian community. Its strength is not to reduce the religious identity of a community to the general religious dimension of common human experience, but its weakness tends not to emphasize the need to explicate the public dimension of its religious identity. Sobrino's evangelization illustrates his understanding of praxis in the context of the Marxist tradition. In this tradition, evangelization is primarily understood as the transformation of the sinful world. Its strength gives practice a very strong societal orientation, and provides a hermeneutical privilege, criterion and standpoint, by which one can test the interpretation of the Christian tradition. Its weakness is overshadowed by its socio-political relevance. Nevertheless, Hauerwas' and Sobrino's accounts help us to realize that the distinctiveness of the Christian identity and its social relevance are inter-related. Ignoring either of them distorts the Christian convictions. The final chapter of this thesis attempts to summarize and reflect the result of the preceding studies about discipleship in terms of the ethical, missiological and theological dimensions. The ethical dimension of discipleship is concerned about a messianic lifestyle. It is a life of conversion, worshipping, following Jesus, being an alternative community and leading a life which brings transvaluation. The missiological dimension of discipleship relates to the promises of Jesus to be present in the apostolate, the sacrament and fellowship of Christians, in the "least of the bretliren", and in his parousia. Finally, the theological dimension of discipleship emphasizes that theology is primarily a practical theology in terms of the centrality of praxis and a theology of, for, and by, the people. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Norman Shanks
Keywords: Theology, Philosophy of Religion
Date of Award: 1994
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1994-71498
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 14:29
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 14:29
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71498

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