Uniting Church theological method

Rob Bos and Geoff Thompson have just edited Theology for Pilgrims: Selected Theological Documents of the Uniting Church in Australia, available at Vision Books. It’s a collection of key theological statements for understanding and appreciating the Uniting Church, from documents that led up to the formation of the church (The Faith of the Church; The Church: Its Nature, Function and Ordering), the Basis of Union itself (strangely, only in the 1971 text and not the 1992 text—really, would another 15 pages have been all that hard?) and many others under the headings Core Practices of the Church, Theology in Controversy and The Church’s Vocation.

In the introduction to the 1988 statement, Understanding the Church’s Teaching on Baptism, I found this little gem on p. 508:

This document is a fine example of the Uniting Church’s theological method. It acknowledges the Bible as the primary source of our theology within its original context, and then considers how this has been interpreted through the centuries in ever new contexts. The document then brings current questions into dialogue with this biblical and theological tradition in a way that illuminates the presenting issues and offers guidance to the Church, recognising that this needs to be done pastorally.

I think this sums up our method—largely not articulated—very well. I pray we can follow it with the ongoing debate on sexuality.

(Oh, and it’s much better than this theological method!)

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