Recently Completed PhD Theses

Kyle Wisdom

‘State, Religion, and the Public Good: An Examination of Nurcholish Madjid in Constructing Civil Religious Pluralism as Political Philosophy’

His thesis addresses the chronic tension between religion and the state by constructing a dialogue between the writings of Nurcholish Madjid and classical political theorists. Framed around the development of the modern nation-state, civil religious pluralism is presented as an important contribution to political philosophy. It proposes that Madjid’s understanding of the religious self, the religious moral order as a part of multiple modernities, and the religious pluralism made possible by civil society can support a strong and just state. In this way, public religious goods can inform the articulation of political goods, which in turn informs the state’s administration of justice.

 

Eric Tuls

‘Ethno-nationalism of the Ahiska (Meskhetian) Turks: A diaspora perspective of their response to change in multiple locations, with a particular emphasis on Turkey’

This thesis addresses Ahiska Turks’ current situation with particular emphasis on their relationship with Turkey and draws on Anthony D. Smith’s cultural approach to nationalism (Smith 2010) to help understand how their ‘Turkish nationalist’ expression is displayed and fits in the wider study of nationalism. The conclusions reveal how their oral ethno-history both maintains their Turkishness held and protected in the Soviet period, while also beginning to integrate itself into official Turkish nationalist narratives. Their ‘homeland’, ‘Ahiska’, continues to be central to group solidarity, but the group also stresses Ahiska’s Ottoman (Turkish) roots in order to integrate with the ‘imagined’ homeland of Turkey.  

 

Usha Reifsnider

‘Reclaiming British Gujarati Hindu Culture after Conversion to Evangelical Christianity’

The thesis explores how multidimensional social spaces and multiple identities are used to navigate relational networks and contribute to the adaptation of transcultural practices. It provides a unique exploration and understanding of the impact of Christian conversion on the British Gujarati diaspora. It also explores the complication of self-identity and the problems incurred through the imposed binaries of identifications by others. By investigating the idea of multiple identities, the thesis unmutes British Gujarati converts’ experiences of family roles, places of belonging and decision making.

 

Worku Mohammed

‘”Travellers in Faith”or “Stealthy Legions”?: The Gurāgē role in the rise of Tablīghī Jamā‘at in Ethiopia’

Worku Mohammed has been awarded PhD for his ethnographic research which deals with the Tablīghī Jamā‘at, an Islamic preaching movement in Ethiopia. The thesis generated primary sources through live participant observation, oral history, interviews, and country visits, including India where it began. The thesis shows that even though it is a transnational movement, Tablīghī Jamā‘at in Ethiopia manifests local identity and also maintains global connections.

 

Kathleen Marie Holley

‘Christian Contemplative Prayer (CCP): A Grounded Theory Exploration of Well-Being and Embodiment within Christian Spirituality’

Her thesis examines the lived experience of long-term CCP practitioners, within their prayer practice. Drawing on participant semi-structured interview data, it utilizes a grounded theory methodology to generate a conceptual framework that integrates CCP practice, well-being, and embodiment. This framework suggests an integrated aspect of embodiment within this prayer practice related to: Embodied Self, Embodied in Christian Community, Embodied Space, and Embodied in God. The findings emerged with greater understanding of the diversity found within the actual practice of silent, embodied CCP. Each of these aspects help to develop a substantive grounded theory integrating CCP practice, well-being and embodiment in the lived experience of long-term CCP practitioners.

 

Stavan Narendra John

‘The Risen and Ascended Humanity of Christ in Thomas F. Torrance’s Holistic Christology’

This thesis examines Thomas F. Torrance’s theology of the ascension. It demonstrates that Torrance developed it holistically by taking into account the ontology, spatiality, and present ministry of the ascended Jesus. It concludes that Torrance has propelled the discussion on the ontology, spatiality, and present ministry of the ascended Christ away from generic affirmations to specific declarations; namely (1) Jesus’s ascended humanity has an ontology that is a composite of body-soul, gender, and ethnicity, and he lives an immortal life in creaturely dependence upon God; (2) Jesus’s ascended humanity has a spatiality that is defined by a duality, which is a corporeal, human existence as well as a ubiquitous divine existence that cannot be defined by human characteristics; and (3) Jesus in his ascended humanity has a present ministry that is active, dynamic, and one that will last into eternity, even when sin and evil have been dealt with.

 

Michio Ogino

‘A Study of Kierkegaard as a Missionary and the Possible Applications in Japan’

This thesis interprets four published works and unpublished works of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55) from the perspective of Kierkegaard as a missionary and applies the Kierkegaardian mission to the Japanese context. It demonstrates that Kierkegaard recognized himself as a missionary writer and considered being a missionary an integral part of being a Christian. Kierkegaard’s strategy can be identified as an incarnational mission that attempts to proclaim Jesus Christ after the manner that Jesus had done on the earth. 

 

Eva Wong Suk Kyun

‘Contextual Pentecostalism from a Classical Pentecostal Movement to a Contemporary Pentecostal Church Movement: A Study of the Assemblies of God of Malaysia with Special Reference to Joel 2:28-32’

This research examines how the Assemblies of God of Malaysia (AGoM) evolved from a Classical Pentecostal Movement (CPM) to a ‘Contemporary Pentecostal Church Movement’ (CPCM). It demonstrates that the espoused theology of the AGoM is classical Pentecostal in nature being derived from Joel 2 – Acts 2 and field research analysis shows its significance in AGoM’s missiological, ecclesiological and ministerial practices. In analysing changes over time, it offers also a theological interpretation of AGoM’s development from classical to contemporary movement and proposes a view of its future trajectory based on the research findings.

 

Jeffrey Thomas

‘Religious Spatiality and the Public Sphere: The Spatial Theory of Michel de Certeau and Religious Space’

Jeffrey argues that the spatial theory of Michel de Certeau is an appropriate starting point and underestimated framework for the study of religion, allowing us to account for the presence of religion in everyday life, beyond the categories of private and public.

He demonstrates that a spatial approach to religion can highlight religious practices as embodying particular ways of inhabiting the world and that de Certeau’s spatial concepts of lieu-espace and strategy-tactics provide a clear theoretical framework for identifying varieties of religious phenomena in religious and ostensibly non-religious places.

 

Jun Kim

‘A Historical and Theological Investigation of the Healing Movement in Korea: With Special Reference to Ik-du Kim, Seong-bong Lee, and Yong-gi Cho’

This thesis explores the theological foundation of the healing movement in Korea based on the works of three Korean theologians: Ik-du Kim, Seong-bong Lee, and Yong-gi Cho. It brings to light continuities and discontinuities in their theologies, the contextual factors which enabled them to develop their ideas and the theological core of the movement formed by them. This work adds to works the wider theology of divine healing, especially in the  Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions.

 

Jonathan Bornman

‘American Murids: Muslim proponents of nonviolence open alternative conversations about Islam, jihad and immigration’ 

This ethnography of a Senegalese religious community in New York, the Muridiyya, brings into conversation a nonviolent Sufi Muslim witness with an American discourseon Islam, violence and immigration. This study generates a new theoretical framework for understanding Bamba and the transnational Muridiyya through the lens of nonviolence. It argues that Murid space making is a social mechanism for peaceful relations with non-Muslims. This thesis reveals the emergence of American Murids committed to the spiritual and ethical values of Bamba and capable of adapting these to the American context.

 

Daniel C. Button

‘Toward a New Heaven and New Earth: A Scientific, Biblical and Theological Exploration of Continuity and Discontinuity’

This is an interdisciplinary exploration of the level of continuity and discontinuity in the transition from creation to new creation. It brings into dialogue the perspectives of scientific, philosophical and biblical theology, examining several key issues independently in order to synthesise those conclusions into an overall assessment of continuity. It shows that a vigorous Christian environmental response demands a theology of creation which includes an eschatological vision not only for humanity but for the whole earth.

 

Melody Joy Wachsmuth

‘Understanding Identity and Social Change through Narrative: With Special Reference to Roma Pentecostalism in Croatia and Serbia’

Grounded in Anthropology of Christianity, this ethnographic work investigates two Old Romanian speaking Roma communities. It makes use of life stories, participant-observation, and extensive field work to identify several prominent themes: suffering, hardship, and trauma on the one hand and miraculous healing and tangible experiences with God on the other. It shows how identities can be transformed through connecting experiences to reinterpreted stories as part of a localised Pentecostal theology. 

 

Terence William Garde  

‘Mining God’s Way: Towards mineral resource justice with artisanal gold miners in East Africa’ 

This thesis examines the daily livelihood practices of artisanal gold miners, how these practices are impacted by bigger forces and the impasses caused.  This is the very first study of its kind which adopts an explicitly Christian (theological) perspective whilst also engaging the social science (theoretical) and technical (practical) framework. The findings inform a new understanding of artisanal mining and offer a new perspective on Christian mission as Mining God’s Way. 

 

Joan M Wise

‘Seeking Christian Enculturation among Vietnamese Evangelicals’

This thesis seeks enculturated traits which show potential for Christian enculturation in the larger Vietnamese culture through the voices of  Vietnamese Evangelical Christians and those adhering to indigenous ancestral worship practice.   The enculturated traits are said to be in the Evangelical ritual of the Lord’s Supper which, the thesis argues, helps in bridging the cultural gaps between Evangelical beliefs and indigenous pre-Christian practices.

 

Christian Tsekpoe

‘’Local Species’ in African Soil: The Development of James McKeown’s Mission Models and their Implications for The Church of Pentecost, Ghana’

This thesis examines the mission models of the Revd James McKeown, a British missionary who became the first chairman of The Church of Pentecost (CoP), Ghana. It argues that the IGMA’s emphasis on context and social change, promises its potential to prolong the mission of the Church in Africa into the foreseeable future. This thesis is, therefore, a vital contribution to the growing body of knowledge in the field of missiology.

 

Edwardneil A. Benavidez

‘Appropriation, Translation and Transformation of Institutionalised Development Discourses: The Case of Faith-based Organisations Doing Development Work in the Philippines’

This study looks into the experiences of five Evangelical faith-based organisations that are doing development work in Metro Manila, Philippines. It also explains how and why those who lead such organisations improve the use of the models they work with often through critical interactions with their peers.

 

Akintayo Sunday O. Olayinka

‘Peace research in non-violent contexts: A case study among the Southwest Nigerian Yorùbá’

This research examines how a widely acknowledged peaceful community (the Southwest Nigerian Yorùbá) maintains harmony. It also takes a close look at the potential of Yorùbá Christians and Muslims to manage their disputes, crises, and conflicts and maintain peace as part of the Yorùbá religion, culture, and values.

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