Church and politics in the theology of José Miguez-Bonino and Allan Boesak
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Since the early 1970s, many Christians have come to the realisation that the churches world-wide have a profound impact on the shaping of a nation's socio-economic and political agenda. Issues and debates within the Church are shaped by the interplay between intra-Church theological and ecclesiastical concerns and national/international ideological and institutional patterns to which churches must adapt. Newly emerging socio-political situations, such as the emergence of democracy in South Africa, complicate the Church's continued search for its prophetic voice: What does it mean to have a concern for social justice, peace, and to maintain a "preferential option for the poor" when the world's political order is continually in transition? This thesis explores the debates that surround the Church's relationship to politics by focusing on the contemporary theological movement known as "liberation theology" and objections that have been raised by its more conservative and liberal opponents. It specifically examines and compares the way Jose Miguez-Bonino from Latin America and Allan Boesak from South Africa, have responded to the theological challenges set by their surrounding social realities and how they have answered the criticisms from Europe and North America. We argue that the theology of these two men offers a more adequate understanding of the relationship between Church, theology, and politics than their critics because of the importance Miguez-Bonino and Boesak give to a praxis that reflects the needs of the poor and oppressed.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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