Title

Much in Every Way: Employing the Concept of Race in Theological Anthropology and Christian Practice

Author

Jeff M. Liou

Publication Date

5-2017

Abstract

This dissertation joins the growing body of theological reflection upon the issues raised by the survival, ubiquity, and evolving significance of racialized imagination and racial identity in the US. In contrast to other works, though, this project emerges from the Reformed tradition. Neo-Calvinism of the Kuyperian strain, though it has been criticized for producing (or failing to apprehend) the cancerous spread of Apartheid in South Africa, has nonetheless articulated a soaring vision of a pluriform eschaton and has denounced both the easily observable manifestations of racism as well as the deeper imagination-level toxicity that contemporary scholars have deployed critical tools to dismantle. This dissertation will argue that the basic confessional affirmations and criticisms of Kuyperian theology pertaining to human pluriformity and human inequality, respectively, provide an indispensable corrective for contemporary approaches to race in the US. However, the criticism that Kuyperian theology’s failings stem from a lack of concreteness and specificity—especially pertaining to bodies—will be elaborated, granted and extended. Nevertheless, critical tools can be deployed to build and not demolish the Dutch Reformed tradition. The constructive proposals that emerge from neo-Calvinist eschatology and pneumatology are too fertile to be ignored. In fact, the historical dispute regarding the role of Kuyperian theology in South African apartheid must be reexamined. It will be argued that the Kuyperian tradition, though it fails at critical junctures, must fulfill its proposed, pluriform eschatology by incorporating cultural tools that have mostly been ignored by those who traverse the black-white binary characteristic of theological and ethical reflection on race in the US. The black-white binary perpetually performs a dialectic in which oppressor and oppressed are locked and unfairly requires other diverse groups to choose sides. Revelation 7:9, frequently used to promote a generic appreciation for diversity, actually prescribes caution about siding with power in the form of capital. Ultimately, the kind of cosmopolitan, coalition-building, public theology and ethics which affirm and prescribe the interdependence of humanity for pluriform cultural tools can find biblical and theological voicing in what Kuyperian theology has historically confessed about creation, the image of God, and the future.

Degree Name

PHD in Theology

First Advisor

Mouw, Richard

Date Uploaded

12-13-2018

Collection Number

ATS1643E

Document Type

Dissertation

File Name

Liou_fuller.ats_1643E_10094

Language

English

Keywords

Abraham Kuyper, Theological anthropology, Biblical teaching, Race relations, Reformed Church, Racism

Disciplines

Missions and World Christianity

Rights

Material hosted by ProQuest subject to copyright

Comments

This was uploaded by the David Allan Hubbard Library from the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (ProQuest). If there are any mistakes in this record, please contact archives@fuller.edu.

ProQuest URL

https://search.proquest.com/docview/1912715381/2B16B44AB4D6436EPQ/1?accountid=11008

Upload File

wf_no

Embargo Period

12-13-2018

Share

COinS