Mission

The purpose of this site is fairly simple and modest. It is to make more available articles and other items which I have written on various matters.

There are articles which have been published elsewhere (and often there are links to other sites and journals) and there are some which are no longer available anywhere else. I will add new material as appropriate.

I keep getting asked for this or that and so it seems easiest to make it all available at the one location.

And I have put it all under the heading of ‘public theology’ in order to emphasise that one of the greatest challenges for Christians today is to take and apply theological principles beyond the four walls of the church. Often it is assumed that important themes like baptism, grace, covenant, freedom, forgiveness, love and worship only relate to what we do within the life of the church. And yet the reality is that theological principles have profound implications for the life of the world.

By rights the reference to ‘public’ ought to be redundant because ‘theology’ is a subject which, by definition (as it relates to God), encompasses everything. Doing theology necessarily involves considering the whole of God’s world. In that sense  it is truly ‘public’. The problem is that there has been a domestication of Christianity, a restriction of faith to the private sphere of individual morality, family life, etc.   To speak of this as the ‘the domestication of Christianity’ is appropriate as refers not only to the realm in which theology has operated – the domestic – it also carries with it the connotation of a church theology which is ‘tame’ and unthreatening to the dominant social forces of the day.

Public theology makes it clear that a full and proper Christian ministry to the world in which we live is more than the application of the twins of ethics and evangelism (which have been seen by many Christians as the appropriate way that Christians relate to the world, with the proviso that the ‘ethics’ component is seen as being the ethics of ‘personal’ and ‘family’ issues – and not other more social or public issues such as economics – and also that for many the ‘evangelism’  was a responsibility in name rather than fact).

Perhaps because it covers so much it is a somewhat elastic, nebulous term which means different things to different people. Yet, despite that there is a definite, consistent core to the idea of ‘public theology’. Moreover, as it is a relatively new term consensus is still developing.  It has to do with defining the role of the church in the public sphere, demonstrating the public value of theological dialogue and analyzing the form of society and the nature of cultural issues.