Defining pilgrim’s theology

A new book collating key documents relating to the theological position of the Uniting Church was launched during the Synod meeting on 2 November.

The book, Theology for Pilgrims, was collated by the Director of the Pilgrim Learning Community Rob Bos and Trinity Theological College Director of Studies in Systematic Theology Rev Dr Geoff Thompson who wrote introductions to each chapter.

Moderator Rev Bruce Johnson said Theology for Pilgrims is a compendium of all the foundational documents of the Uniting Church in Australia.

“Documents about what the Uniting Church says about Jesus Christ, how does the Uniting Church understand the Church’s mission, that is the Covenant between the Uniting Church and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, why is rebaptism not permitted in the Uniting Church, why does the Uniting Church ordain women,” he said.

Theology for Pilgrims contains documents on the other areas of controversy the church has experienced including the documents relating to lay presidency of the sacraments.

“It is fascinating to hear all those and know that they are issues that we have struggled with as a church over our time,” said Mr Johnson. “What Rob and Geoff have done for us is to draw all that information together in this book and introductory notes to help people in our church understand what we are on about.”

Dr Bos told the members of Synod he and Dr Thompson thought this would be a six-month project they could do in their spare time. “It ended up taking four years,” he said.

“The criticism is often made that the Uniting Church doesn’t know what it believes.

“The Assembly has decided what we believe on a large number of issues we just haven’t really heard about it.

“So the purpose was to collect some of the significant documents, but we have also prepared an introduction to each of the documents.”

Dr Bos payed tribute to Shirley Sergeant who edited Theology for Pilgrims.

Formerly the Assembly National Consultant in Theology and Discipleship, Dr Bos helped link the work of the Worship, Doctrine, Missiology, Evangelism and Relations with Other Faiths Working Groups to the life of the Assembly as a whole.

Theology for Pilgrims is $70. If you are interested in getting a copy, please contact Susan at Vision Books.