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Toward a pastoral theology of family: An exploration prompted by feminist critique

Newbold, R.J (1989) Toward a pastoral theology of family: An exploration prompted by feminist critique. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The modern family has become the focus of intense academic study, ideological debate and the subject of state policy. For the Church and pastoral theology, the family is no longer a soft option. Instead, family issues are at the leading edge of social reality; a reality with which the Church must not only engage, but in which it must provide leadership if it is to fulfil its prophetic calling. This paper is an exploration of several topics in secular thought and theological enquiry which impinge directly upon the question of the value and desirability of the family as a social system.

First, this paper reviews and assesses functionalism and critical theory, as dominant and alternative: social theories of family respectively, for their ability to analyse family and propose creative theory of family. Second, there is an exploration of two representative polarities in the debate over the predominance of the nuclear versus the extended family in order to determine the relevance of this debate for pastoral theology of family, Third, the radical feminist critique which argues for abolition of family as an unjust institution of society is contrasted with another feminist perspective which argues that family is vital to the survival of society. Fourth, the new Testament is examined for a specifically Christian model of family and for what have been called Christian family values. This exploration is important because it will indicate whether christians can a priori claim a divine order of family or an order of relationships within the family. If pastoral theology is to be pro-active in matters of family, it must decide whether or not family is desirable. So a conclusion in this regard is offered along with a discussion of pastoral theology's role in working for an authentic and redeemed society. Additionally, the conclusion posits the beginnings of a pastoral theology of human relationships rooted in Genesis 1:26.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Board of Theological Studies
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Head, Ivan and Tapper, Allan
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