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Theological Poverty or a Richness of Beliefs: Congregational Baptism seen through the lens of Ordinary Theology

Davis, Paul Anthony (2023) Theological Poverty or a Richness of Beliefs: Congregational Baptism seen through the lens of Ordinary Theology. Doctoral thesis, York St John University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
Theological Poverty or a Richness of Beliefs - Congregational Baptism seen through the lens of Ordinary Theology.pdf - Published Version
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This thesis investigates the beliefs of regular churchgoers relating to baptism using the lens of Ordinary Theology. It explores the proposal that ordinary theologians demonstrate evidence of theological poverty as defined by Camroux (2008) and whether ordinary worshipers construct their own beliefs in place of systematic theology. It is set in the tradition of Congregationalism and develops the framework of the four voices of theology (Cameron et al. 2010a).

The study employs qualitative semi-structured interviews with the addition of focus groups. The data comes from thirty-six members from six churches affiliated to the Congregational Federation, their six Ministers and two academics from within Congregationalism.

This research shows that there is a paucity of systematic theology in these churches but that there is not a theological vacuum. The contributors have developed their own ordinary theologies about baptism that are personal, reflected upon and frequently unarticulated. An attempt is made to encompass these beliefs into an existing framework, the closest being a Second Great Commandment Theology.
This thesis proposes that greater consideration should be given to the ordinary theologians that worship in our church congregations, and that leaders in the Congregational tradition need to facilitate this. The thesis also proposes that Cameron’s four voices should be expanded to provide for the voices of ordinary theologians.

These findings make unique contributions to knowledge in the field of baptismal theological poverty that could be expanded by studying the theology of communion within the Congregational tradition and of baptism and communion in other traditions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/9125

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