Theological perspective

A_Genuinely_Theological_Church_FINAL_FRONTReview by Bob Faser

Book | A Genuinely Theological Church: ministry, theology and the Uniting Church | Geoff Thompson

At the very least, Dr Thompson has given us a book with a provocative title.

In some UCA circles, whenever the T-word (theology) is mentioned, people look rather tense, as if they assume an all-in brawl will soon follow.

Considering the theological brawls our church has experienced over the decades since Union, particularly over “the Four Bs” (Baptism, Bishops, Biblical Interpretation, and Bedroom Ethics), this tension is understandable.

This book had its genesis in some recent changes in the education, training, and formation for the UCA’s specified ministries (ordained and otherwise). This has happened to the extent where some synods are now operating according to significantly different models of ministry formation than others. 

In examining this situation, Dr Thompson has broken two persistent taboos within the UCA that have long needed to be broken.     

The first is the taboo against admitting that the ethos of the UCA varies according to the region of Australia in which it happens to be located. 

The second is the taboo against admitting that whichever of the UCA’s parent churches with which we identify still has a profound impact on our understanding of the UCA (and of the Christian faith more generally). 

By breaking these taboos, Geoff Thompson has done us all a service.

Dr Thompson continues with an exploration of the theological vocation of the UCA in a cultural context he describes as “post-secular”, “post-liberal”, “post-colonial”, and (drawing on contemporary politics) “post-truth”. 

He concludes with a consideration of ministry education in a “post-Christendom” age. This is a brief book, but an important one.

Published by Morning Star  RRP: $20.95

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