his thesis re-examines the images of Scotland as a Christian nation, from the perspective of contextual theology. In the opening chapter, it presents the argument that several contextual theologies of Christian nationhood have been operating in Scottish history. They have affirmed the country's Christian national identity by offering practical theological models of Scotland as a Christian nation. Together, these contextual theologies of identity, and their models of Christian nationhood, have formed one diverse and yet coherent tradition, or dominant practical theological paradigm of Scotland.
The central three chapters study this paradigm of the Christian nation in its three main historical forms: the medieval Catholic model of a free nation; the postreformation Reformed model of a godly nation; and the more modern, secularized Christian ethical model of a moral nation. This paradigm of the Christian nation has been socially significant in shaping Scottish nationhood, although far less so today. It has been theologically creative in developing new models of the Christian nation, in response to the changing context of Scottish nationhood. And yet, its evangelical praxis has also been socially constrained through its establishment within the structures of power in national life.
The final chapter argues that this paradigm is no longer adequate sociologically or theologically to guide Christian praxis in the late twentieth century. A paradigm shift is required, moving away from the residual older models of a Christian nation, towards embracing the emerging liberating models of church and nation - models responsive to the cultural dynamics of autonomy and self- determination in a post-modern, pluralist Scottish nation and yet faithful to the gospel. The thesis concludes by suggesting the outlines of a Scottish contextual theology of liberation and a new Christian paradigm of Scotland as an open nation - open even in its post-modern nationhood, to the horizons and presence of the Kingdom of God.