The Four Theological Voices Model

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Methodology The Four Theological Voices Model The Four Theological Voices Model was developed by the Action Research: Church and Society team (ARCS), consisting of Helen Cameron, Deborah Bhatti, Catherine Duce, James Sweeney and Clare Watkins. In the book Talking about God in Practice, the ARCS team explains four theological voices which they discovered as they examined the practice of the Church. The four voices are: (i) normative theology, (ii) formal theology, (iii) espoused theology and (iv) operant theology.3 Cameron et al argue that these voices are intertwined, and that together they express the whole of Christian theology.4 The team 's main thesis is that practice is essentially theology, and that theology subsequently is embodied throughout the life of the Church and expressed in the lived practice of the Church through these four theological voices.5 Cameron et al is clear that this model should not be seen a complete description, but rather serve as a interpretative working tool for theological reflection upon how practice and theology are connected.6 Critique of the method While Cameron et al do not explicitly describe any specific direction of movement in the communication between the four voices, they argue that there may be a rather significant relationship between the normative and formal theology on the one hand, and the espoused and operant theology on the other.7 They also suggest that the model enables a challenging of formal and normative
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