Details of Thesis

Title The Dialogue of Theology and Education: Clarifying the role of Lutheran confessional theology for Australian Lutheran school education
Author Bartsch, Malcolm Ian
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 1998
Abstract Aim: This study aims to clarify the role of Lutheran confessional theology in informing and shaping policy and practice for Australian Lutheran school education. In doing this, it also seeks to provide another step in the on-going process of developing for Australian Lutheran schools a comprehensive theoretical framework that reflects insights from both Lutheran confessional theology and educational theory and research. Scope: The thesis begins with the presupposition that education is a value-laden process and that schools need shared beliefs and values to function effectively. In the current scenario of change in society in general and in education in particular, such a common vision is difficult to maintain. However, Australian Lutheran schools begin with theology as the starting point for their value base. This means that they can share a common vision drawn from God's revelation in Scripture. However, this theology needs to be expressed in such a way that it can be brought into dialogue with educational theory and research in order to develop insights relevant for determining the nature and purpose of Australian Lutheran schools. Since Lutheran theology sees itself as 'confessional' in nature, and since the Lutheran Church defines itself in relation to its confessional writings, the Book of Concord (1580) is taken as the theological basis for this thesis. While the Book of Concord could be seen as containing documents from a different era, nevertheless it is still the accepted theological basis of Lutheranism and any attempt to provide a theoretical framework for Australian Lutheran schools would need to be consistent with its theology. Before examining the theology of the Book of Concord, the study briefly traces the development of Lutheran schools in Australia and the aims and purposes for which they were established. The role of theology in motivating the establishment of those schools is also considered. The rapid expansion of Australian Lutheran schools during the past three decades is then investigated for the purpose of identifying current issues faced by these schools which need to be addressed through insights from Lutheran confessional theology. The study then turns to the Book of Concord in order to summarise major emphases of Lutheran confessional theology. This is done to identify critical Lutheran theological perspectives which need to be brought into dialogue with the educational challenges faced by Australian Lutheran schools in the current context of rapid social, cultural and educational changes. The central teaching of the Book of Concord, the doctrine of justification by grace through faith on account of Christ, is examined first. This is followed by theology of the cross, law and gospel, the perspective of the 'two kingdoms' and the individual as saint and sinner. Throughout this process, the dialectic nature of Lutheran confessional theology is emphasised. In bringing these major teachings of the Book of Concord into dialogue with the educational issues identified earlier in the thesis, a number of implications are developed for Australian Lutheran school education. In particular, the Australian Lutheran school is considered as a 'confessional community' and examined from the perspective of the 'two kingdoms'. Other educational issues are explored, including Lutheran anthropology of the individual, the place of the Bible in Lutheran schools, the role of the law in Lutheran schools and the implications of 'theology of the cross' for life in the church and the world. Conclusions: In attempting to clarify the role of Lutheran confessional theology for Australian Lutheran school education this study deduces that theology and education exist in a process of 'dialectic dialogue' with each other, 'listening to each other' but also retaining certain levels of dialectic tension as each side responds to the other. However, this study also emphasises the dialectic nature of Lutheran confessional theology which must be preserved in order to avoid the danger that only one side of the theological tension will be considered in the dialogue with education. Thus this study concludes that if Lutheran confessional theology is to play its vital role in developing a comprehensive theoretical framework for Australian Lutheran school education, then a 'double dialectic' needs to be maintained - the dialectic tension within Lutheran confessional theology in dialectic dialogue with educational theory and practice. In this way balance can be maintained in developing insights into the nature and purpose of Australian Lutheran school education based on Lutheran confessional theology.
Thesis 01front.pdf  508KB
02chapter1.pdf 1,460KB
03chapter2.pdf  1,920KB
04chapter3.pdf 858KB
05chapter4.pdf  1,661KB
06chapter5.pdf 1,958KB
07chapter6.pdf  2,199KB
08chapter7.pdf 517KB
09Appendices.pdf  1,078KB

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