‘Seeking the welfare of the city’: Public Theology as Radical Action

Andrew Bradstock

in Radical Christian Voices and Practice

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738340 | DOI:
‘Seeking the welfare of the city’: Public Theology as Radical Action

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This chapter presents a critical overview of ‘public theology,’ recognizing that, although the term is new, what it describes reflects the historic calling of the Christian church to seek to make a positive difference in the world. Three characteristics of public theology are highlighted: (i) its wish to ‘gift’ (rather than impose) its contribution to the public square; (ii) the wealth of resources upon which it may draw, including scripture; and (iii) its concern to communicate effectively in a secular context without diminishing the distinctiveness of its input. The view (identified with political liberalism) that only value-free language be permitted in public discourse is challenged, and the argument advanced that all participants in such discourse should be free to practise ‘confessional candour’. The chapter concludes that public theology is not just about informing or deepening public debate, but about inspiring action.

Keywords: Public theology; public square; gift; scripture; political liberalism; secular; language; confessional candour

Chapter.  7224 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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