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Disturbing Much Disturbing Many: Theology Provoked by the Basis of Union

Thompson, Geoffrey (2016) Disturbing Much Disturbing Many: Theology Provoked by the Basis of Union. Wipf and Stock, Eugene, Oregon. 292pp. ISBN 9781532606175

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Abstract

The first report of the Joint Commission on Church Union, the body whose work led to the "formation of the Uniting Church in Australia was published in 1959 with the title The Faith of the Church.

The Commission argued that any union between the then Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational Churches should not depend on 'ecclesiastical carpentry'. Something more than bits of Presbyterianism, Methodism and Congregationalism tacked on to each other was needed. Instead, a new church, it was argued, should emerge from a 'fresh confession of the faith of the church'. The Commission asked what was it that made the church the church and how could this be confessed in fresh terms?

Yet this was a high-risk strategy. The three churches were warned: "If we go forward into a union on the basis of a fresh confession of the faith of the Church, we shall disturb much and disturb many". The commission maintained this approach; it finally yielded the Basis of Union, the document that became and remains the UCA's foundational text.

The essays in this book assume that the posture of 'disturbance' runs through the Basis. So understood, it retains its capacity to disturb, and by doing so, to enliven the pieties, theologies and institutions of the church as much now as it did in the 1970s.

In various ways, the essays explore the theological background to the Basis of Union as well as bringing several of that document's key claims into conversation with some of the UCA's current theological debates, many of which might at first sight seem very distant from the concerns of the Basis.

Some of the essays engage very closely with the text of the Basis; in most, however, the emphasis lies much more on the conversations provoked by engaging with it. Particular emphasis is placed on its core Christological claims. As a whole, the book demonstrates that these claims, far from being restrictive and limiting, are richly generative of theological conversation, discussion and debate. Issues discussed include conversations between the Basis and the 'historical Jesus', biblical hermeneutics, contextual theology, the Eucharist as an open table, sexuality, relativism, the commitment to scholarship and the mission of the post-Christendom church. Members of the Uniting Church will gain new insights into the theological orientation of the Basis and be resourced in new, and perhaps unexpected, ways for many of the debates and conversations presently underway in the church.

Item Type: Books / Monographs
Repository Version: Metadata Only
Keywords (separated by commas): Theology, Church history
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subject Area(s): C - Church History
Association with University of Divinity: PTC: Pilgrim Theological College
Depositing User: Dr Suman Kashyap
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2017 13:17
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2017 13:17
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/2264

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