Public Theology in Law and Life

Public Theology in Law and Life

Brian Edgar
Paul Babie
David Wilson
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: ATF (Australia) Ltd.
Pages: 194
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  • Book Info
    Public Theology in Law and Life
    Book Description:

    Public theology' involves the application of biblical and theological principles outside the confines of the church and assesses their implications for wider society. It examines both the theoretical structures of society (the nature of secularity, government, globalisation, pluralism and so forth) and the myriad specific issues involved in daily life (everything from sport to work-place relations to economics). Public theology is also, very importantly, a discipline that is practiced by the 'ordinary' Christian as well as the academic, and it is done in public (with all the scrutiny that entails) and in such a way that it communicates to non-Christians (although it remains a theological endeavour). In a real sense it is theology for the world, from the Word, by the people of God. The volume has a variety of contributors and includes an article on the role of public theology in Islam.

    eISBN: 978-1-921817-76-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction: Public Theology Today
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Brian Edgar, Paul Babie and David Wilson

    Christian theology, properly understood, is alwayspublictheology. As Dutch journalist, theologian, politician and Prime Minister, Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) famously declared, ‘No single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign overall, does not cry: “Mine!”’¹

    But the reality is that Christians have not always thought in this way and the contemporary term ‘public theology’ reflects the need to overcome the privatised form of faith that became dominant in modern society....


    • 1. Public Theology, Justice and Law: A Preliminary Note
      (pp. 3-26)
      Benny YT Tai

      According to Jürgen Moltmann,‘[a] s the theology of God’s kingdom, theology has to be public theology . . . [i] ts public character is constitutive for theology, for the kingdom of God’s sake’.¹ David Tracy echoed that,‘all theology is public discourse’.² Harold Breitenberg understood public theology to be‘theologically informed descriptive and normative public discourse about public issues, institutions, and interactions, addressed to the church or other religious body as well as the larger public or publics, and argued in ways that can be evaluated and judged by publicly available warrants and criteria’.³ In short, public theology4 is...

    • 2. What Lies Beneath: A Brief Introduction to the Issues Underlying the Development of the Law in the Context of Medical Treatment
      (pp. 27-40)
      Bernadette Richards

      We live in an increasingly complex world where ideals of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are no longer as simply defined as perhaps they once were. As suggested by Foster, to understand the law, and the nature of humanity, one would have to be a master of many disciplines and doctrines. The law is interested not only in the nature of individuals but also in the manner in which individuals interact, and must look beyond the question of what makes each individual thrive. Indeed, the law must strive to ensure that society as a whole can thrive and in aiming for this...

    • 3. The Australian Legal Academy and the Concept of Private Property
      (pp. 41-58)
      Paul Babie

      In every aspect of modern life, from the moral to the political, religion seems to matter to more and more people in Australia.¹ And, in one way or another, it seems to structure the way that people interact socially. Overlooked in the influence of religion in Australian social life, though, is the relationship betweentheologyand law. While there is a paucity of Australian legal literature on that relationship, engaging the two disciplines might give a fuller understanding of Australian life.

      The absence of Australian scholarship does not mean that the relationship between theology and law has been entirely forgotten....

    • 4. Public Theology in Islam: A New Approach?
      (pp. 59-72)
      Nadirsyah Hosen

      The discourse of Islam around the world after 9/11 has been focused on the radical side of Islam. The media tend to report stories aboutburqa, jihad, andShari’afrom the context of the fear of Islamic radicalism. The other aspects of Islam have been ignored in the public discourse. My paper seeks to fill the gap by examining the development of public theology in Islam. Public theology seeks to provide resources for people to make connections between their faith and the practical issues facing society. Therefore, the question is: how should Islamic theology respond to the real and practical...


    • 5. On the Future of Humanity: Enhancing the Image of God?
      (pp. 75-108)
      Brian Edgar

      It is neither difficult nor outlandish to suggest that the twenty-first century will bring a transformation of human functioning that will rank, for significance, alongside the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century and the information technology revolution of the twentieth century. It will be a self-directed evolution of human functioning that will modify the nature of the human person in a way that will have a far greater significance than either of these previous revolutions.

      The first part of this paper describes the various technologies that will change human nature. The focus is not on any individual technology but on...

    • 6. Is there a Theology of Values Education?
      (pp. 109-124)
      Brian V Hill

      Over the centuries, many theologians have paused in their system-building to reflect on the nature of Christian involvement in education. But the development in the last 200 years of state schools operating in the public domain, and the growing religious pluralisation of society in the present day, oblige us to revisit some of our basic assumptions in this area. Most contemporary Christian commentators, however, are committed in advance to the Christian school solution, a pre-emptive assumption which also needs to be re-examined, particularly in the light of the growing debate about ‘ values education’ in democratic societies like our own....

    • 7. Biblical Ethical Principle and Its Critics
      (pp. 125-142)
      Clive Beed and Cara Beed

      This paper has three aims. One is to demonstrate how contemporary Christians have deduced normative ethical principles from the Bible to apply to social and economic issues (as practiced by such as Hay, and Tiemstraet al).¹ An overview of the principle approach in general is presented in this section, and then a recent instance of its application to a socio-economic issue is canvassed. This review leads into a second more encompassing objective that in Section 2 is to evaluate criticism that has been directed to the principle approach as such. If this methodology is found to be defective, it...

    • 8. Professions, Business and MacIntyre—Fellow Travellers?
      (pp. 143-170)
      Chris White and Gordon Preece

      Substantial attempts have been made to apply to business, Alasdair MacIntyre’s framework of virtues and practices, most explicitly set out in Chapter 14 ofAfter Virtue(hereafter AV).¹ But are these attempts ultimately futile, given MacIntyre’s broad-based antipathy to capitalism and much of the institutions of business? His development of the Aristotelian notion of practices seems more immediately applicable to professions. But in many respects professions and businesses are becoming more alike. In this article we attempt to answer three questions:

      Is professional practice anything more than a business?

      And can business management be a profession?

      Do MacIntyre’s concepts of...


    • 9. The Bible Hits the Streets
      (pp. 173-180)
      David R Wilson

      The Book of Proverbs in the Bible talks about wisdom having a public face. It declares that ‘wisdom shouts in the streets wherever crowds gather in the market places and near the city gates (1:20)’. Wisdom is crying out in the streets to be heard but who is listening?

      The King James Bible was first published in 1611 and Bible Society Australia celebrated the 400 th anniversary of that publication in 2011 with a travelling Exhibition of rare Bibles, including an original 1611 Pulpit edition of the KJB. In the month of October the Exhibition came to Melbourne and opened...

    • 10. Wisdom and Transformational Leadership
      (pp. 181-190)
      George Savvides

      It may sound odd, having spent twenty years as a Chief Executive Officer but I am even more passionate now then ever about the subject of leadership, in particular inspirational leadership capable of producing community and organisational transformation. I think we all would agree the world is in desperate need of leaders, leaders who leave their assignment in better shape than what they started with, not a leader defined by ‘what I control’ but ‘what I created or enabled to happen’.

      I am not talking about good management, or cost cutting, I am talking about business or organisational renewal. I...

  7. Contributors
    (pp. 191-194)