Christian proclamation in a postmodern culture : With special reference to gospel as community

Potter, Malcolm Leonard (1998) Christian proclamation in a postmodern culture : With special reference to gospel as community. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The emergence of a 'postmodern' culture since 1945 has placed the proclamation of the church in a new context. Central to this study are three assumptions. First, that effective proclamation must be revisioned as an expression of a theology of the cross. Second, that this will involve the gospel being encountered as an enriching experience of community within the fringe activities of the local church. Thirdly, that against the background of fragmented and incoherent notions of selfhood, associated with the postmodern condition, proclamation must enable the self to be revisioned as a gift from God, rather than as a human construct. In chapter one, numerical decline in the churches is set against the background of what the Anglican church of 1945 considered to be an intensification of the secularization of society, but which by the 1960s and 1970s could be described as a postmodern culture. The call for a dialogue between the gospel and our culture sets the scene for discussing three major proclamation initiatives, which, from 1945 to the 1980s, are considered to have failed to achieve their aims because they gave insufficient attention to this newly emerging cultural context. In chapter two, a more adequate model of proclamation is sought. Its essential characteristics must include the ability to operate in the postmodern marketplace of religious pluralism, and be capable of minimizing a culture of suspicion, which leading postmodern thinkers have associated with both religion, and all high profile marketing messages addressed to the community at large. Proclamation informed by a theology of the cross is considered to be an adequate response to this situation. Chapter three takes up the major theme of community as an experience of good news, in which people are legitimated and valued. We note that the writers of all four gospels portray Jesus as the founder of a community, which validated a wide cross section of people who were subsequently called to live under the rule of God. The local church which understands itself as extension of the community of Jesus, is able to engage in this same ministry, drawing people into a faith commitment to Christ. In chapter four, notions of the self associated with the postmodern condition are discussed as fragmented and incoherent. Against this background, proclamation is discussed as a means of enabling a revisioning of selfhood as a narrative self, with a renewed sense of personal agency and a capacity for self transcendence. Finally in chapter five, within the context of a church planting exercise in Tilbury, Essex, a renewal of numerical growth is experienced through Christian proclamation revisioned as a theology of the cross. Within caring and supportive ministries it becomes possible to create a rich experience of community, and a revisioning of selfhood. Under these conditions the church can effectively proclaim the gospel and anticipate the making of new disciples.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: David Jasper
Keywords: Religious history
Date of Award: 1998
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1998-72910
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72910

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