This collection contains the Doctoral and Masters by Research theses produced within the department.

Recent Submissions

  • “The Great Story on Which the Plot Turns”: Cruciformity in C.S. Lewis’ Narrative Spiritual Theology

    Dickieson, Brenton (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-05)
    This thesis presses in on C.S. Lewis’ extremely diverse corpus to explore his integrative narrative spirituality of the cross. Chapter one argues that Lewis’ concept of spiritual self-death and resurrection is lacking critical treatment despite the spirituality of the cross that I argue is deeply woven into the fabric of Lewis’ poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and letters. This cross-shaped spirituality, what Michael Gorman calls “cruciformity,” is central to Lewis’ understanding of Christian life. Though neglected because of readings of Lewis that reduce him to the role of an apologist, chapter one surveys occasional notes about this death-and-resurrection motif in Lewis scholarship and provides definitions for methodological approaches to the study. Following definitions of spiritual theology by Eugene Peterson, chapter two turns from systematic theological explorations of Lewis to consider him as a spiritual theologian, a move that is organic to his theological enterprise, his epistemology, and his fiction. Chapter three explores Gorman’s biblical-theological approach to Pauline cruciformity, arguing that there is a six-point Logic of Cruciformity in Lewis’ so-called apologetics writings that moves past and refocuses Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ. As Lewis’ spirituality is embedded in narrative form within poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, chapter four explores “The Shape of Cruciformity” in Lewis’ œuvre, using Northrop Frye’s narratology and J.R.R. Tolkien’s theory of eucatastrophe to argue that there is a comedic, U-shaped pattern of cruciform imagery in Lewis’ fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Chapter five interrogates Lewis’ integrative, normative narrative cruciformity with feminist theological critique, provoked by Anna Fisk’s concerns about cross-shaped spiritualities in women’s experiences. A response to this problematisation reveals an inversive quality inherent to Lewis’ thought that is itself U-shaped, comedic, and eucatastrophic. Chapter six explores this inversive U-shaped thinking central to Lewis’ theological project, arguing that the shape of cruciformity in Lewis is the shape of his spiritual theology. I conclude the thesis with “sacred paradoxes” in Lewis’ thought that invite further work and deepen our understanding of Lewis’ concept of spiritual life, thus inviting a prophetic self-critique for Christian believers.
  • Ministry Patterns of Clergy Married to Clergy within an Ecosystem of Power in the Church of England

    Collingridge, Susan, R. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-07)
    There have been clergy married to clergy (CMC) in the Church of England for over thirty years yet their ministries are little understood and there is limited consistency of practice regarding CMC in the church. This work aims to address both problems. The thesis argues that CMC patterns of ministry are formed during their careers within an ecosystem of power: a complex network of elements and forces acting on and in reaction to each other. The CMC ecosystem of power is akin to ecosystems in nature. It includes dyadic dynamics and extends to family and local ministry contexts, diocese and wider church. CMC are subject to various types of power and can also exert influence. For this study 15 CMC individuals were interviewed from a range of dioceses, ministry contexts and life-stages. Each interview was structured by constructing a timeline of ministry/job changes and key personal and family events. The emerging picture of CMC patterns of ministry from qualitative interview data was enriched by quantitative data from participants’ timelines to illuminate factors influencing their ministry patterns. My research indicates that CMC experience the effect of the church’s authority in negative or positive ways, most emphatically during the early period of selection, initial training and curacy. CMC are doubly vulnerable to external constraints from the institution because both spouses are dependent on the church for work, home and income. Further constraints come from liabilities, responsibilities and expectations within family and wider social networks. CMC moderate their vulnerability through adhering to ‘independent’, ‘tangential’ or ‘integrated’ models of ministry. In the light of such choices they make decisions about applying for jobs, leaving posts and engaging in part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid, parish or non-parochial ministry. Within CMC ecosystems of power, support and competition influence how CMC ministries develop, notably within the CMC dyad (couple), the most distinctive feature of CMC ministry life. CMC spouses offer reciprocal support through understanding, practical and professional help, echoing the mutuality in natural ecosystems. CMC also decide whether one partner’s ministry has priority and which one takes precedence at different times. I argue that competition between CMC partners has the potential to create a positive outcome of growth and development for CMC by creating awareness of asymmetry and encouraging development of their personal and professional relationship. I make suggestions for future research and indicate limitations to this study. I propose recommendations for improved practice with CMC in the Church of England such as greater openness about diocesan policies and more consistent training for senior clergy.
  • Diverse Excellencies: Jonathan Edwards on the Attributes of God

    Rigney, Joseph, J. (University of Chester, 2019-03-03)
    This thesis explores Jonathan Edwards’s view of God’s attributes in light of his Trinitarian theology. In particular, I argue that, contrary to the claims of some Edwards scholars, Edwards clearly affirms the doctrine of divine simplicity throughout his writings as it was held among the Reformed scholastics. Through an exposition of his Discourse on the Trinity in light of its historical and polemical context, I demonstrate both Edwards’s orthodoxy and his distinct innovations in expressing the orthodox view of the Trinity. Notably, I show that Edwards distinguishes the persons of the Godhead by means of a strong psychological account of the Trinity positing that the only real distinctions in God are those of being, understanding, and will, which correspond to the three persons of the Godhead. Additionally, Edwards maintains the unity of the Godhead by appeal to divine simplicity, whereby “everything (real) in God is God.” Finally, Edwards upholds the personhood of each person through the biblical doctrine of perichoresis. This exposition enables me to respond to a variety of criticism of Edwards’s trinitarianism. The second part of my thesis unfolds Edwards’s attribute classification system as it proceeds from his trinitarianism and his account of the God-world relation. Edwards distributes attributes in two primary ways. First, he distributes attributes into real attributes, which simply are the persons of the Godhead, and modal or relative attributes, which are real attributes in relation to creation. Second, he distributes attributes into natural attributes and moral attributes, based on whether they are reducible to God’s being and understanding on the one hand, or reducible to God’s will on the other. Within relative attributes, I demonstrate further distinctions such as capacity attributes, which are sufficiencies in God to certain effects and which are relatively dormant until God wills to create, and negative attributes, which Edwards surprisingly includes within relative attributes on the basis of the fact that they deny some creaturely quality to God and thereby depend upon creation’s existence for their intelligibility. I conclude by bringing Edwards’s taxonomy of attributes to bear on the question of divine freedom and creation’s necessity, showing that while Edwards does differ in some ways from his Reformed forebears, he does not hold, as some scholars claim, that God is essentially creative and that creation is necessary. Rather, Edwards employs the category of “fitness” to describe God’s acts of communicating his glory and the employment of creation as a means to that end.
  • When the personal Call to Ordained Ministry is not recognised by the Church: Implications for Selection and Pastoral Care

    Routledge, Robin; Dyer, Anne; Gubi, Peter M. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-05-01)
    The effect of not being recommended for ordained ministry when a person is convinced of their personal Calling can be devastating, and it is a phenomenon that is under-researched. The research question is: ‘How does having one’s sense of vocation for ordained ministry rejected by the Church impact at a psychological and theological level?’ The aims of the research are: To explore how having one’s sense of vocation for ordained ministry rejected by the Church impacts on individuals at a psychological and theological level; and to better understand the implications for selection and pastoral care. The core purpose of this research is to enable better pastoral care during and after the discernment and selection processes. Structured by Swinton’s and Mowat’s (2006) Practical Theological Reflection model and contextualised within the Church of England, eight Diocesan Directors of Ordinands (DDOs) [Stage 1] and nine non-recommended applicants (NRAs) [Stage 2] were interviewed to determine their experience of selection and how they theologically and psychologically made sense of non-selection. The data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. In Stage 1, four superordinate themes emerged: Vocation; Selection processes; Theological perspective; Pastoral care; along with thirty-seven subordinate themes. In Stage 2, four superordinate themes emerged: Pursuing ordination; BAP experience; Pastoral care; Making sense; along with twenty-three subordinate themes. The thick data reveal the lived experiences and ‘sense-making’ of the participants from psychological and theological perspectives. In reformulating revised practice, a number of recommendations are made, that: a) the way that vocations are ‘marketed’ and encouraged needs refocussing; b) the vulnerability surrounding the process of responding to Calling to ordained ministry is akin to a ‘coming out process’; c) appropriate training is provided for incumbents and congregations to raise their awareness of the issues surrounding non-recommendation; d) incumbents be in Pastoral Supervision; e) training be given to Vocations Advisors, DDOs and Bishops which highlights the ways that spiritual abuse and inappropriate behaviour can occur in the discernment process; f) dioceses work more coherently to establish ‘best practice’ in the discernment process; g) safeguarding systems be put in place centrally to which candidates can complain/appeal when perceived spiritual abuse or inappropriate behaviour occurs; h) there is greater transparency in the sharing of reports and references with applicants; i) Canon C4 be reassessed; j) counselling be offered to candidates throughout the process of discernment, and after, as needed; k) the value of the BAP process be re-evaluated; l) opportunity for debriefing immediately after the BAP be offered; m) the wording of reports consider the impact of the words on the recipient; n) the discernment process pays attention to other forms of vocation than ordained ministry; o) issues of sexual discrimination are mitigated against and prohibited.
  • The Gift of Leaven: A new feminist theological praxis for urban church

    Dawson, Claire L (University of Chester, 2019-09)
    This thesis documents my research quest into the post-regeneration community of Bootle, North Liverpool. A Housing Market Renewal Initiative had decimated the area. As a Church of England minister, I was struggling to find signs of life and had no theological paradigm in which to situate my ministerial practice. My argument is that the current arborescent theology and practices of the Church of England have excluded the phronēsis of white working-class women and have failed to deliver a life-sustaining praxis for urban church. I argue for a reprioritisation of the poor and the inclusion of marginalised voices; allowing these voices to shape and define the academy as opposed to letting the academy shape which voices are to be heard. I came to this research holding a feminist and liberative theological standpoint: prioritising and privileging the voices of women and those on the margins. My research design adopts a feminist and narrative methodological framework in its quest to uncover the hidden phronēsis of the Bootle women. The transcripts of their lives are analysed using a thematic network analysis which generates three global themes: hope; placed and particular; and the death space. This thematic network is the main finding of my research quest and is the Gift of Leaven: the distilled phronēsis of the Bootle women. This research project is multidisciplinary. The Gift of Leaven is brought into conversation with voices from social science; public urban theology; feminist theology; and urban geography. Through a spiralling process of theological reflection the strands of a new feminist theological praxis for urban church are defined. What I produce in this thesis is a new feminist praxis for urban church from the underside of life and from voices that are notably absent from academia and ecclesiology. This new praxis is not a carefully-crafted mission action plan of how the Church should engage in urban life. What is offered instead is a new way of seeing and feeling the urban. This is situated within the lo cotidiano and objects of the ordinary and is revealed through fragments; it is new women’s knowledge coming to birth in women’s story and women’s song. It does not readily offer quick social or theological fixes to life’s fissures. It provides a way of flourishing and life from a different paradigm, and that paradigm is the phronēsis of the Bootle women. It is the women themselves who become the heralds of good tidings and the God bearers. They bring the Gift of Leaven for the whole community so that bread may be baked and the wounded body fed. The task is now to make space so their voices can be heard.
  • Sermon listening among the Croatian Baptists: A New Approach Based on Congregational Studies and Rhetoric

    Seba, Enoh (University of Chester, 2019-04)
    The recent homiletical literature reveals the 'turn to the listener' as a widespread trend of attempting to minimize the gap between the pulpit and the pew and indicates the increase in the reappropriation of various rhetorical contributions. At the same time, the development of congregational studies has encouraged practical theologians to conduct empirical studies in order to explore the highly contextual nature of sermon listeners' involvement in the practice of preaching. The investigation of my immediate context, however, proves that preaching holds a precious place in the theology and life of Croatian Baptist churches, but also identifies the absence of empirical research that probes their preaching practice from the hearers' perspective. These are the reasons why this study is motivated by the following research question: What are the real expectations and receptiveness of the Croatian Baptists as sermon listeners, and how can these findings be utilised to improve the quality of preaching? To become able to articulate dependable answers, I conducted a qualitative field study based on a phenomenological approach, using semi-structured interviews with eighteen members of five local Baptist congregations located in four Croatian towns. The gathered feedback was interpreted by means of three rhetorical modes of appeal (logos, ēthos, and pathos) which served a purpose of identifying their actual expectations and (dis)engaging factors that direct their listening participation and sermon reception. The same data was submitted to critical theological reflection, aiming at the theological warrants for the constructive suggestions for the transformation of preaching practice. The findings from the research demonstrate that participants tend to hold a high view of preaching, and yet many of them report the unmet expectations which may lead to lowering their expectations. Among the most prominent interviewees' expectations are: hope that the sermon will provide direction in their everyday life, desire to meet God during the sermon and to have their devotional reading of the Bible enhanced by sermon listening, a longing to have their spiritual batteries recharged, and anticipation that preaching should question their status quo and challenge them to change themselves. Also, the study indicates that triggering the listeners' identification boosts their reception of the message and promotes their engagement. Although these particular findings are not generalisable, they nevertheless point to the possibility of an important implication: backing up the listeners' expectations with their active responsibility for the preaching may transform the entire practice into a constructive enterprise that bridges the gap between hearers and preachers. The specific suggestions, based on the study findings, to the preachers and listeners in Croatian Baptist churches may serve both as an illustration of how preaching can be reestablished as a truly congregational practice and as an impetus for further studies in different contexts.
  • Seeing and Showing the Unseen: Towards a Methodology of Utilizing Cognitive Linguistics in Biblical Preaching that Employs Metaphors and Images

    Szumorek, Adam P (University of Chester, 2018-12)
    This thesis suggests ways in which Cognitive Linguistics can be employed in hermeneutics and homiletics to enhance the methodology of using metaphors and images in sermons to convey the meaning of biblical texts in general and biblical metaphors in particular. Considering the fact that Cognitive Linguistics is a secular and pragmatic science, I begin my study with providing a theological framework for applying it to hermeneutics and homiletics by referring to the idea of God’s revelation. In order to justify using metaphors and images in sermons I show that biblical revelation abounds with images because God revealed himself creating people in his image, that Christ is the perfect image of the Father, and the Holy Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ. In order to show how Cognitive Linguistics can contribute to preaching, basic assumptions of this theory are presented. Some general heuristic principle for the interpretation of biblical metaphors seen as a part of wider discourse are formulated. Finally, the thesis shows the practical implications of applying Cognitive Linguistics to preaching which can be seen in the proposed methodology of reworking existing biblical metaphors and creating new metaphors that convey the meaning of biblical texts that might be non-metaphorical. The whole thesis concludes with a practical scheme of developing macro and micro sermon imagery.
  • What is the meaning of equal marriage in the Church of England?

    Henwood, Gillian (University of Chester, 2019-01)
    The Church of England’s traditional theology of marriage between one man and one woman is protected in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 from reforms to civil law to include same-sex couples. Within the Church of England, same-sex couples who enter civil unions (of partnership or marriage) are not permitted to have a service in church to celebrate with prayer for God’s blessing. Clergy in civil partnerships are not permitted by the Church of England to convert their union to civil marriage if they hold a bishop’s licence to practice. This research questions the meaning of equal relationships, both marriage and same-sex unions, to test three of the benefits of marriage asserted by the Church to the UK Government: mutuality, fidelity, and the biological complementarity of the couple with the possibility of procreation (Church of England, 2012). A methodology of practical theology, where my practice-based research leads to theory that reforms practice, fosters dialogue among voices of theology within the context of the Church of England. A postliberal interdisciplinary approach recognises plural meanings within my research field and adopts narrative methods for data generation, analysis, interpretation and presentation. Theologies of equal marriage and union, interpreted from narratives co-constructed with my participants, are brought into conversation with premodern liturgies for blessings of unions of Christian harmony and peace, seeking a fusion of horizons expressed through performed ritual. This research argues that two of the Church’s benefits of marriage, mutuality and fidelity, are embodied in all participants’ marriages and civil partnerships, but challenges the Church’s third benefit, because it is stated as derived from acknowledgement of an underlying biological complementarity of the couple. Changes in the legal and social contexts in England, academic research literature in the fields of gender and sexuality, and evidence from research participants’ lived practices lead to reinterpretation of the third benefit as responsible choices for parenting and the nurture of children in a pro/creative relationship. Implications for the Church of England are that emerging theologies in this research mandate policy changes, to lift the Church’s prohibition of services in church after same-sex civil unions and to pilot new liturgies of blessing. For mixed-sex couples to marry each other in a liturgy of Christian equal marriage, this research offers two areas for light revision of the Church’s contemporary liturgy to provide alternative options: gender-neutral language and rubrics, and nuanced language expressing loving intimacy rather than specific emphasis on sexual union. These changes will enable the Church of England to renew Christian marriage based on a recovered and reinterpreted theology of Christian unions of harmony and peace, so that couples can celebrate in church with prayer for God’s blessing either through marriage or a service after their civil union.
  • Independence or ownership? A comparison of the struggles and successes of the Bible College principalships of Howard Carter (1921-1948) and Donald Gee (1951-1964) with a special focus on both the risks and benefits of independence and denominational ownership during these eras.

    Dyer, Anne; Sainsbury, Sue; Jenkins, Steven D. (University of Chester, 2019-07-23)
    The British Assemblies of God Bible College can trace its roots to the Pentecostal Missionary Union’s (PMU) Training Homes which were established in 1909 for men and in 1910 for women. In 1924 the PMU amalgamated into the newly-formed British Assemblies of God (AoG), with a full merger in 1925, and the PMU Training Homes/ Bible Schools continued as an independent enterprise under the leadership of Howard Carter, albeit with strong links to British AoG. In 1951, the independent Bible School at Hampstead and in Bristol were given to Assemblies of God and from this time, through to the present, have been denominationally owned and governed. The College’s first principal under denominational ownership and governance was Donald Gee. Although this dissertation seeks to reconstruct some of the important contextual narrative of the Bible School(s), from its inception in 1909 through to the end of Donald Gee’s principalship in 1964, this research endeavours to be an analysis and comparison of Carter’s 27 years as Principal of an independent, yet denominationallylinked college, with the 13-year tenure of Gee’s, when it was financially owned and governed by the Assemblies of God. There will be a special focus on the risks and benefits of independence/ownership during the respective eras, examined through criteria such as Finance, Curriculum, Personnel issues and the Student body. In addition to historical research, some contemporary analysis on the risks and benefits of independence/ownership in the 21st century will be elucidated in the Conclusion together with other areas of interest that will be assessed at various points of the dissertation, such as early attitudes to Pentecostal education and whether the focus of training had changed in AoG from overseas to the home field. In light of obvious and perceived risks and benefits, the Conclusion will seek to answer the question of whether denominational independence or denominational ownership was more beneficial for the College in the past and for the current Assemblies of God Bible College at Mattersey. In addition, other observations and lessons for Mattersey Hall will be made. This research seeks to recover the lost voice of this Pentecostal Bible College – to learn lessons from the past in order to help it survive and thrive in the future. This research will be predominantly based on information provided by primary sources.
  • The influence of Isaiah in Matthew 1-4

    Kinde, Todd M. (University of Chester, 2019-01-29)
    This study traces the four Isaianic references in Matthew 1-4 to identify their influence in the structure and theology of Matthew’s Gospel. Isaiah distinctively contributes to the parallel nature of the narratives in the structure of Matthew 1-12 and particularly to the structural unity of Matthew 1-4. Further, the Abrahamic background in Isaiah contributes to Matthew’s “Son of Abraham” motif. The second chapter identifies the placement of the Isaianic references in Matthew and offers an alternative view of Matthew’s macrostructure. Similarly, the integral unity of Matthew 1-4 is supported by parallel themes and plotlines. The strategic placement of Isaianic references supports this proposed structure. The study proceeds with a chapter devoted to each of the four Isaianic references in Matthew 1-4. The study’s intertextual methodology observes the reference’s text form, Isaianic context, reference in Jewish sources, placement in the Matthean chapter, Matthean context, and a summary of Isaiah’s structural and Christological influence. Two appendixes accompany the research: one identifies the Abrahamic background in Isaiah 1-12, and another reevaluates the premise of a new Moses typology in Matthew. Isaianic references influence the narrative parallelism in Matthew 1-4, highlighting the calling motif, and confirming the preaching ministry of John and Jesus. Theologically, the Isaianic references and allusions echo in Matthew 1-4 to inform Matthew’s Son of Abraham Christology. As the Son of Abraham, Jesus recapitulates Israel’s history, following the paradigm of the patriarch Abraham.
  • ‘Building Space: Developing Reflection for Wellbeing’ Can a chaplain help healthcare professionals develop reflective practice for wellbeing for themselves and their team?

    Mowat, Harriet; Satterley, Andrew; Graham, Elaine; Pearce, Sacha J. T. (University of Chester, 2019-01-22)
    In this thesis I develop a new, wider and richer understanding of wellbeing, through developing a process of reflective practice, with healthcare professionals within their challenging work culture. As a healthcare chaplain, having witnessed poor staff morale, I conducted a critical examination of NHS wellbeing reports and strategies, which revealed an understanding of staff wellbeing that ironically follows simply a health model. Challenging this, I argue for a broader interpretation of wellbeing that, in addition to focusing on health, is more holistic, relational and contextual. I develop reflective practice to nurture this, the use of which extends in healthcare beyond education and professional development. In my action research, knowledge was generated through ethnographic participation and observation, over a year, reflecting as chaplain with eight teams of healthcare professionals. This used my simple and memorable HELP Wellbeing Reflection Cycle (building on Kolb’s (1984) model of experiential learning) that combines reflection on work and personal development. My project also responds to Rolfe’s call (2014) for greater use in healthcare of Schön’s (1980) “reflection-in-action”. Building on these works, I develop reflection for healthcare professionals to nurture their wellbeing. My encouragement of the participants to self-facilitate their own reflective groups, when familiar with this method of reflection, is also a contribution to reflective practice, healthcare and the chaplain’s role. Thematic data analysis emerged from the reflexive field notes of our shared experience as co-reflective practitioners. The themes include healthcare professionals making the human connection between themselves and with their patients. They also value the space to reflect together, realising their desire for team support and a shared goal, as well as job satisfaction in this demanding culture. These themes, I argue, are consistent with the broader definitions of wellbeing, giving them the opportunity to be both a healthcare professional and human. Further data analysis also reveals consistency with wider wellbeing interpretations (including personal wellbeing measurements and data from the Office for National Statistics (2014, 2015)). I develop the role of chaplain as the healthcare professionals’ co-reflector, sharing their reflective space as a pastoral encounter and a source for learning. This combines the images of “empty handed” (Swift, 2009) “welcoming guest” and “mutual hospitality” (Walton, M., 2012). I offer to national healthcare the wider understanding of wellbeing, and the value of creating provision for reflective space to nurture it, in the care of healthcare professionals. This research offers the potential for exciting further developments in a wider constituency both in and beyond healthcare.
  • To what extent is George Lindbeck’s ‘Postliberal’ approach to doctrine helpful for the resolution of contemporary Christian controversies?

    Fulford, Ben; Rodgers, Alasdair M. (University of Chester, 2019-01-15)
    The extensive critical response to George Lindbeck’s book, The Nature of Doctrine, has frequently overlooked the author’s own primary intent to propose an innovative ‘grammatical’ approach to the function of doctrine (or ‘rule theory’), which would explicate, and replicate, observed ecumenical instances of doctrinal ‘reconciliation without capitulation’. This current research evaluates and tests, in a way which has not previously been undertaken by either Lindbeck or his critics, the extent to which a regulative approach to doctrine can provide a fruitful model with which to approach current ecclesial conflicts. This will be achieved by applying a modified version of rule theory within the case study of a contemporary ecclesial conflict. Following a clarification and modification of Lindbeck’s rule theory, I undertook a qualitative analysis of Christian liturgies, autobiographical accounts and position statements in the context of a single controversy (Church of England debates concerning same-sex relationships), to assess the extent to which a modified version of rule theory would provide a useful model with which to approach similar contemporary ecclesial conflicts. An analysis of the beliefs and practices of representative groups (as evident within their liturgies, autobiographical accounts, and descriptions of ‘faithful discipleship’) was undertaken, to ascertain whether operative regulative principles, akin to ‘grammar’, could be identified, and to test whether a comparison of identified ‘grammars’ would prove reconciliatory. The research discovered that the operative ‘grammar’ of different representative groups could be identified and compared, and that the modified version of rule theory had the ability to: disentangle debates about apparently inexorably conflicted positions over particular practices or beliefs; and facilitate a deeper understanding of the regulative principles which shaped interlocutors’ practices and beliefs, which would make a valuable contribution to the debate, but not necessarily in an immediately reconciliatory way. Consequently, this research has discovered that a modified version of rule theory does provide a helpful model with which to approach contemporary controversies, offering the potential for both the discovery of ‘grammatical’ coherence where it is present, and the identification of the true location and extent of ‘grammatical’ differences if they are present. Therefore, the modified version of rule theory under consideration is shown to provide a basis for dialogue which may variously lead to: a recognition of previously obscured ‘grammatical’ coherence; a form of reconciled diversity; the identification of promising areas for the negotiation of a new shared ‘grammar’; or the recognition of the presence of irreconcilably divergent ‘grammars’, which may, in some instances, lead to a degree of ecclesial separation.
  • The Pentecostal-Charismatic movement in Zambia: Oral history of its emergence, evolution, development and ethos (1940s-2010s)

    Clark, Mathew S; Middleton, Paul; Makukula, Nelson (University of Chester, 2018-11-22)
    Since the late 1880s, Zambia has been engaged in a repeated series of encounters with Christian renewals. The arrival of Pentecostalism will be viewed as the palpable product of this intensely creative process. Zambian Pentecostalism emerged in continuity with the fruit of European Christian missionary enterprise, but its more contemporary version evolved in spontaneous response to the rise and ministry of influential local Zambian leaders such as Joel Chidzakazi Phiri, prophetess Alice Lenshina, evangelist Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba, Winston Broomes, and Jack and Winsome Muggleton. The activities of these key figures led to the formation and prominence of three main church streams across Zambia: Prophetic and Pentecostal-type Pentecostalism, Classical Pentecostalism and Neo-Pentecostalism. The brand of Pentecostalism that emerged in Zambia in the 1940s has been influenced by several theological, cultural, political and social influences. One noticeable feature of Zambian PentecostalCharismatic Churches has been their change in character across the decades from holiness and evangelistic traditions of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to the faith and prosperity ministry of the 2010s. Pentecostal-Charismatic has become engaged in the public sphere by the early 1990s. A further development since the 2000s has been the prominence of the prophetic and apostolic, which is the combination of teaching mainly from the USA and various strands of previous ministries with an emphasis on miracles, deliverance, prosperity and prophecy.
  • Focalization in the Old Testament Narratives with Specific Examples from the Book of Ruth

    Firth, David; Nazarov, Konstantin (University of Chester, 2018-11-22)
    The works in the field of general narratology that have been written since the first introduction of the concept by Genette in 1972 demonstrate a great dynamic in the development of this concept. Unfortunately, the refinements of Genette’s theory often suffer from inconsistency of definitions and remain heuristic, which does not allow the dissemination of the achievements to other types of texts (for example, Old Testament narratives). In the field of biblical narratology the concept of focalization (especially its recent development) was largely overlooked, and the attempts to study the Old Testament narratives in relation to the notion of focalization are generally not accompanied by careful examination of the subject. The purpose of the present research is the consideration of the narratological concept of focalization with regard to the Book of Ruth. To this end, the research examines if recent narrative theories suggest a universal methodology of exploring focalization that can be equally applicable to any narrative texts (including Old Testament narratives) and what are the specifics of applying this methodology to the Old Testament narratives? To answer the question above, the research considers Wolf Schmid’s ideal genetic model of narrative constitution and Valeri Tjupa’s theory of eventfulness and narrative world pictures as universal models for studying focalization. With some modifications and refinements these ideas are transformed into a methodology of studying focalization in the Old Testament narratives. The application of the method to the Book of Ruth shows that on the level of selection of narrative information, the narrator selects sixteen episodes that constitute four narratological events that became the basis of the plot. Then, on the level of composition by the means of reported speech and the play of horizons, those episodes and events were placed in a certain order. Finally, on the level of presentation, these events were presented mainly in the scope of internal focalization, which as demonstrated in the work correlates with the use of the qatal form of the Hebrew verb. Since Schmid’s ideal genetic model of narrative constitution claims to be universal, the method of studying focalization can be equally applied to other Old Testament narratives. Tjupa’s theory of eventfulness and narrative world pictures can help to emphasize narratological events and to blueprint the thread of the narrative and logic of selectivity for those Old Testament narratives that do not have clear division into episodes and events. A subject of special interest is the question if the hypothesis about correlation between constructions with the qatal form of the Hebrew verb and internal focalization remains true to other Old Testament narratives.
  • Spiritual formation in secondary education: An investigation into how children use collective worship within secondary education

    Graham, Elaine; Llewellyn, Dawn; Birkinshaw, Stephen J. (University of Chester, 2018-09-03)
    The past thirty years has witnessed significant changes in the practice of collective worship in UK schools, although the statutory requirements relating to collective worship have not changed since 1988. Predominantly, collective worship in schools is managed and delivered by adults. However I became aware, from my professional context and practice as a chaplain in a faithbased urban secondary school, little attention has been given to the ways children actually experience and make use of collective worship. The aim of my research has therefore been to gain a more child-centred perspective on collective worship, and to generate a deeper understanding of how children might use collective worship to reflect on their relationships and life experiences. My research methods reflect the aim to privilege the children’s voices: the primary data source comes from children’s own accounts of participating in collective worship, using a longitudinal qualitative method across four years. Using a definition drawn from Hay and Nye (1996, 2006) and Hyde (2008), the study employs thematic analysis to interpret the data using the framework of spirituality as relationship with God (or Transcendent), self and other (including people and the world). The results revealed in this study show that children construct collective worship as a sacred space in which they are able to reflect on their own understandings of God, faith and the world. Crucial to this process is an emerging sense of self and its connection with these relationships. Through critical reflection within collective worship children encounter a particular dynamic that I have identified as reluctance-permission-opportunity. I therefore argue this dynamic underpins a child’s evolving sense and awareness of faith and relationship with God, other and self, and represents aspects of a three-dimensional model of spiritual reflection and maturity. The study concludes that the sacred space of collective worship is actively constructed by the children, building on the established frameworks offered by the statutory provision of school-based collective worship. The constructed sacred space of collective worship is – for the children – precious, set apart, revelatory, special and life-changing. As such there is a sense of ownership by the children of this sacred space. This thesis suggests new approaches to researching and understanding children’s spirituality as well as implications for professional practice. It represents a contribution to knowledge by advancing a more nuanced understanding of children’s spiritual development than currently exists. The notion of a three-dimensional dynamic also offers a contribution to theoretical understandings of the concepts of spiritual formation. The findings of the research are seen as having implications for professional practice in collective worship by arguing for a child-centred approach to critical spiritual exploration and reflection, and therefore to the design and provision of collective worship.
  • Hurting and Hiding: The Lived Experiences of Black Men Struggling with Same-Sex Attraction and Adherence to the Teachings and Beliefs of UK Black Majority Churches.

    Watts, Graham; Rich, Tony; Middleton, Paul; Bradshaw, Ruthlyn O. (University of Chester, 2018-04-25)
    Black Majority Churches (BMC) play a central role in the lives of Black people, informing culture and community. Within the BMC the issues of sexuality and in particular homosexuality are rarely spoken of. However, doctrines in regards to homosexuality have been conveyed in a seemingly homophobic manner, hence individuals experiencing same-sex attraction (SSA) in BMCs have remained silent and unsupported. This phenomenological study explores the lived experiences of five Black Men struggling with SSA and adhering to the teachings of the BMC. The study posed the question, ‘How do Black men struggling with SSA and the teachings of BMCs perceive and describe their lived experiences?’ Data for the study was collected primarily through individual interviews conducted with each participant. The transcripts were analysed using Colazzi’s method for analysing data and two major themes emerged: unfairness and needing support. Discussions of the participants lives indicated that they felt compelled to keep their SSA hidden to avoid stigmatisation, discrimination, isolation and rejection. Moreover, they were also discomforted by the ongoing conflict between their homoerotic feelings and their religious beliefs. Additional data resulting from the questionnaires completed by seventeen Black ministers and leaders of BMCS, provided understanding of the context in which the participants were struggling. The findings suggest that there is a lack of a pastoral care approach for persons experiencing SSA in BMCS and recommends that such an approach is developed. Importantly, this study gives voice to Black men with SSA hurting and hiding in BMCs and has the potential to contribute to the resources required by anyone wanting to find out more about this experience and initiate further research.
  • Responsible Before God: Human Responsibility in Karl Barth’s Moral Theology

    Clough, David; Fulford, Ben; Leyden, Michael (University of Chester, 2014-04)
    This thesis contributes to the recent scholarly re-evaluation of Karl Barth’s moral theology through an examination of the theme of human responsibility in his thought. The language of responsibility recurs throughout Barth’s ethical writings, and its frequency and strategic significance in his articulation of the nature of the active human agent in Christian ethics means it is worthy of scholarly consideration. To date, no extended study of this topic in Barth’s thought exists, and, apart from critical summaries of his use of responsibility language in select parts of the Church Dogmatics in corners of the secondary literature, responsibility-ethicists have tended to ignore Barth’s work on this topic. My intention, through exegetical reading of several key texts, is to provide explication, clarification, and analysis of his understanding of human responsibility. On the basis of this exegetical work I shall argue that the idea of responsibility is in fact a key component of Barth’s theological ethics and significantly informs his presentation of human agency. Following the introductory chapter, the central chapters of the thesis are exegetical readings of human responsibility in three major texts from the Barth corpus: the Ethics lectures; the ethics of CD II/2; and the special ethics of CD III/4. The fifth and final chapter is a synopsis of the development of Barth’s understanding and his articulation of human responsibility across these texts. My constructive proposal as to how we may understand Barth’s overall account is based on the preceding exegetical work. I argue that the ethics of the Church Dogmatics ought to be read together, and that in doing so we see that the mature Barth offers: 1) a theological description of human responsibility, which I argue is a kind of moral ontology in which the human agent is called to inhabit a particular space in relation to God; and 2) concrete indications of the kind of responsible actions that represent and enable the embedding of that description in human life. He develops what I term “indicative practices” which give shape to human lives, enabling human agents to navigate the moral space into which they have been placed. These two elements taken together are, I suggest, the sum of Barth’s account of human responsibility.
  • Beyond Dialogue - An exploration of the Musalaha: Curriculum of Reconciliation model of interfaith dialogue with relevance for the UK context.

    Baker, Christopher T. H.; Rawlings, Philip J. (University of Chester, 2017-07)
    Issues concerning the integration of migrant communities into United Kingdom society have once again become the subject of national debate, with the publication of the Casey Review in December 2016. In the aftermath of terrorist incidents in Manchester and London, as well as the 2016 Referendum vote for the United Kingdom to leave to the European Union, the reported rise in racially motivated hate crimes and an increase in both antisemitism and Islamophobia, the necessity of developing healthy relationships between communities is imperative. When considering the question of whether segregation is on the increase or not Cantle and Kaufman conclude that while minority ethnic communities are dispersing there is significantly less mixing with the ‘White British’ communities, who seem to be withdrawing from mixed areas. The need for integration is vital. This research starts with the premise that religion is part of the solution, not a part of the problem. This qualitative research explores ethnographically the process of interfaith dialogue, by participant observation of three different groups over a five-year period, with intense reflection over the last three years. These groups were made up of Muslims and Christians, and Hindus in one group, all of whom had a deep personal faith in their respective religions. Using Salim Munayer’s Musalaha Six-stage Cycle of Reconciliation, which was pioneered in the Israel-Palestine context of 25 years of dialogue practice among Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians, the research adapts and builds on this model, for use in interfaith dialogue, developing a fresh definition of ‘interfaith dialogue’ and a method of interfaith dialogue appropriate for the UK context. The thesis makes three main contributions to academic knowledge. First, it presents a new definition and fresh approach to interfaith dialogue with relevance for the UK context, which is particularly relevant for devout believers in their respective religions, to stand alongside other models. Second, the results of the research identify a list of fourteen key themes, including identity, faith and reconciliation, which deserve further analysis. The research methods indicated that there are many more issues that, with further analysis, might be profitably explored. Third, that following the six-stage cycle the path to reconciliation, although remaining hard, is nevertheless achievable, especially for those whose faith provides the motivation and drive to engage at depth with the other.
  • Postsecular Rapprochement: A Strategic Model for Church Engagement in a Postwelfare, Post-regeneration Age

    Baker, Christopher T. H.; Llewellyn, Dawn; Jones, Margaret A. (University of Chester, 2017-08)
    Since the global financial crisis of 2008-9 and the deficit reduction measures introduced by the British government from 2011, a new strategic deinstitutionalized model of community engagement has begun to emerge to address issues of social justice and environmental concern. Cloke (2011) identifies this new space of engagement as ‘rapprochement’. This research develops this concept, arguing that this organic, radical, social enterprise form of partnership offers the Established Church1 a potential means to engage in community-based social action in a postwelfare, post-regeneration age. A redistribution of power that seeks to enable agency and release enterprise, innovation and hope is at the heart of this new community-based model of partnership. These innovative enterprises are particularly evident in inner urban areas, although it is a model also appropriate for suburban and rural communities. This fresh model of partnership is a consequence of a developing nexus between rapprochement and austerity. Rapprochement emerges in what Habermas (2001 onwards) identifies as the postsecular. This acknowledges that religion, despite expectations to the contrary (Wilson 1982; Bruce 2002), continues to have a significant role in the public square. The global financial crisis and austerity measures imposed by the last two governments (2010-2015; 2015-2017) reflect a neo-liberal ideology leaving those least able to cope increasingly vulnerable and in need of support. A hermeneutic ethnographic approach accesses the experiences of leaders engaged in public, private and third sector organizations in a time of on-going austerity and considers their knowledge and understanding of partnership working. Data consists of 14 interviews and is triangulated with participant observation in two partnerships identified as examples of rapprochement. Case study helps clarify understandings of this new form of partnership. Dynamics characterizing these organic partnerships include a deep respect for hermeneutical integrity; a desire to create a sense of place, rather than space; a transformative form of hospitality and a style of leadership that enables the different stakeholders to acquire and develop a sense of agency. Innovative frameworks clarifying these dynamics include ideas of postsecularity, progressive localism, smart pluralism, and enablement. Alongside terms like personal responsibility, passion and vision, usual in partnership vocabulary, the research uncovered a more nuanced and sophisticated lexicon. This includes terms such as autonomy, brokering and process enablers. Rapprochement primarily encapsulates a person’s love for their neighbour. Those engaged in these partnerships practise a welcome engendering inclusivity, which offers a fresh theological understanding of hospitality. It also suggests a distinct theological understanding of leadership, espousing a model that draws others in, helping them to discover their gifts and constantly expanding and sharing leadership. This strategic deinstitutionalized model of partnership offers the Established Church an opportunity to join with others and to show, through praxis and community engagement, God’s bias for the poor and his longing for their enablement.
  • The divine warrior and cosmic catastrophe: the impact of the sibylline oracles on interpretation of Mark 13:24-25

    Middleton, Paul; Angel, Andy; McBay, Susannah E. (University of Chester, 2017-04)
    The meaning of cosmic catastrophe language (CCL) in Mark 13:24-25 is widely contested: both in regards to what type of language is used and to what event it refers, namely the fall of temple at Jerusalem in 70CE or the Parousia of Christ. Recent contributions from Marcus, Shively and Angel have identified the mythological background behind the language, but still interpret this mythology in different ways. In this thesis I elucidate the tradition behind CCL, specifically that of the Jewish Divine Warrior Tradition (DWT), to assess further its development in the Second Temple period and inform interpretations of Mark 13:24-25. Using a historical-critical, criterion-based approach, I demonstrate that the DWT is used in thirteen texts in the Sibylline Oracles and that this use expresses divine opinion and judgement upon political entities and spiritual powers that oppose God and his heavenly host. I also show that the DWT in Sib. Or. 3-5 incorporates elements from Stoic cosmological imagery, which was separated from the Stoic doctrine of ἐκπύρωσις with the advent and rise of Roman Stoicism. The result of this has various implications for navigating the interpretations of Mark 13:24-27 and I conclude that the cosmic catastrophe of vv.24-25 is best understood as describing the cosmic upheaval and demise of spiritual powers that relate to the temple and its leaders at the coming of the Divine Warrior.

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