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Practical Theology 1
Transcript of Practical Theology 1
Practical theology is critical reflection on the praxis of the church in the world done in the light of Scripture and Christian tradition and should be ‘in dialogue with other sources of knowledge’. It is that dimension of theology that seeks to examine critically the actions of the church-in-the-world, in order that its practices can be understood and enabled to remain faithful to the mission of God that provides the dynamism and the goal of the theological enterprise. Practical theology is thus grounded in the life of the world in general and the life and work of the church in particular. It is this location of the theological enterprise within human experience that gives practical theology its unique perspective. - Swinton
...practical theology is necessarily reflexive, contextual, imaginative, creative and transformative, seeking to explore and, at times challenge the accepted boundaries of current theology and practice and, in so doing, develop new and innovative ways of being faithful Christians in the world of continuing change and uncertainty. - Swinton
The Clerical Paradigm:
applied directly to ministry
The Church Paradigm:
The focus shifted to the
church both inside (practices)
and outside (praxis)
The Liberation Paradigm:
Viewed the primary goal of practical
theology as liberation or transformation
of the world (especially for the oppressed)
The Individual Paradigm:
Insists that practical theology should
focus on the needs of the lay person
and their vocation in the world
Swinton's Six Tasks of PT: (p. 405ff)
1. Understanding and participating in the mission of God in the world.
2. Mediating the relationships between the Xtn tradition and the challenges of the contemporary context.
3. Examine the theories that undergird ecclesial praxis and to work toward integrity and alignment
4. Keeps exegeting the culture and the practices of the church in connection to one another.
5. Stays close to experience (keeps the church grounded)
6. It keeps the church mission-centered
When we say "SCRIPTURE" we mean...
What do we know about the character and nature of God as he has revealed himself through his activity with Israel, in Christ, and by the Spirit at work in the early Church?
Pitfalls around Scripture:
Idol v. Icon
Reading propositionally and not as a way of seeing and being
De-contextualization and Universalization
When we say "TRADITION" we mean Ecclesiology
Ecclesiology - the Church is the embodiment of the mission of God and the gospel of Christ in the world. "The Church does not just bear the message of Christ, the Church is the message of Christ."
Pitfalls of Ecclesiology:
Turning the Church into a place that we go and not something that we are...
Tradition is the living faith of the dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.
Failure to assume being "Resident Aliens."
When we say REASON
Pitfalls of Reason or Sociology:
- Reason always starts from somewhere
- Social science is thoughtful narration...
- Ex. "Sticky Faith"
"Their work is a form of story-telling, not unlike conventional imaginative literature... its author has given a unique interpretation to a set of human events, that he has supported his interpretation by providing examples in a variety of forms, and that his interpretation cannot be proved or disproved but draws its appeal from the power of its language, the dept of hits explanations, the relevance of its examples, and the credibility of its theme. And that all of this has an identifiable moral purpose." - Postman
- How do these sources fit with lived reality?
- How do these "socially embodied and historically extended" narratives fit with experiential crises that come along?
- How is the world being changed?
- What kind of people are being formed?
Dr. Daniels' Concerns with
1. Practical Theology is sometimes viewed as the "lesser science" within schools of theology... When in actuality PT requires the greatest level of integration and often the highest level of wisdom and intellectual imagination.
2. PT often lacks a thoughtful
Ethical Reflection Requires
Thus in American Christianity
We tend to assume:
Story of Pursuit of Happiness (Desire)
"ISSUE" framed by Individualism and Desire
+ Scripture rules or principles...
"ISSUE" viewed through the unique POLITIC
of the Kingdom of God and narrated by the
unique story of God's redeemed people called
The Church is not some place that we go...
But it is something that we are.
3. PT tends to operate in formulas rather
than in the development of character.
So we will focus a great deal on how
people are formed (as the Church) to
do the right things - live the right theology -
without necessarily knowing particular
practical theological or ethical formulas.