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Relating to God: A Practical Theology of Christian Holiness

TURNER, PHILIP,STANLEY (2018) Relating to God: A Practical Theology of Christian Holiness. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



What does holiness mean to British Methodists in the twenty-first century? This thesis describes holiness from the perspective of a presbyter and over 100 participants from a Methodist church that journeyed together to discover what it means to be holy.

Guided by Theological Action Research, the thesis outlines formal and normative theologies of holiness. ‘Relating to God’ is presented as a key hermeneutical phrase, showing that holiness begins with God, flows from God and flows through those who are responding to God’s love for the world. Yet when this theology was explored with participants diverse forms of welcome and resistance were encountered. These responses are presented and analysed in accounts of espoused and operant theologies. They showed that holiness is pursued in the complexity of real embodiment and everyday relationships. The author therefore argues that holiness is best understood when not generalised but rooted in a time, among a people and in their place.

From a Christian perspective the whole of humanity is called to journey in holiness. This thesis contends that it is Methodism’s vocation to highlight this journey in the church and in the world, and concludes with practical suggestions for the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Theology and Ministry
Keywords:holiness, Methodism, Methodist Church, Great Britain, practical theology, Theological Action Research, four voices of theology
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 Nov 2018 12:35

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