Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Christian Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Terry Carter

Second Advisor

Dr. Doug Sonheim

Third Advisor

Dr. Doug Reed

Abstract

From its earliest days, the Christian Church has struggled to adapt to the cultures which embrace her. The earliest internal disputes were not doctrinal, but cultural in nature. The contention between Jewish and Gentile widows recorded in Acts 6 and the Jerusalem Council recorded in Acts 15 are but the first of countless cultural clashes. Historically, at least since the rise of Catholic missions, the church has drifted between extremes in its relationships with the cultures she encounters. The church either attempts to abolish the cultural distinctives of evangelized people groups, or unquestionably embraces those distinctives. At best, either extreme compromises the witness of the church and at worst destroys her.

In comparison, manner in which the Christian faith was both conveyed to and practiced by the Celtic peoples stands as an early and marked contrast to the dominate pattern of early Catholic, and much later, Protestant mission practices. This radical new way of presenting and practicing the Christian faith, not lost in the pages of history, has had a dramatic impact on Western civilization and the Western church. This work focuses on these Celtic distinctives of faith and practice and on how they are being lived within the context of late twentieth century religious life in the United States.

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