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The Failure of Functional Theologies of Ministry and the Promise of a Relational Alternative

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The author critiques inductive approaches to pastoral theology that rely on the empirical methodology of the social and human sciences, and presents an alternative Christocentric praxis model of pastoral ministry. The result is an attempt to integrate pastoral theory and practice that shifts the perspective away from functionally-determined theologies of ministry to a relationally oriented and hermeneutically coherent model of orthopraxis in which theory and practice interact in a way that is intended to both deepen faith and transform lives. Some of the key themes that inform the discussion are the importance of theological method, the role of the community as the context for care, the relationship between practical ministry and systematic theology, and the notion of praxis in articulating the nature and scope of practical theology today.


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