Gospel, Church and Australian Culture


One semester, 6 credit points (standard pathway); 4 credit points (accelerated pathway)
This unit is taught as part of Ridley’s MA Gold program and may only be taken by those enrolled in the ACT MA degree or nested awards (GradCertMin or GradDipTheol/Min)
8000 words (standard pathway); 7000 words (accelerated pathway)
To be advised. Contact the College Registrar to indicate your expression of interest registrar@ridley.edu.au
Tim Foster
In Post-Christian Australia, Christians must become missionaries in their own nation, but how might our culture shape the way the gospel is told?

This unit pushes students to see, perhaps for the first time, the thick cultural lens through which we view the world. It also challenges us to see the way our understanding of the gospel is framed by our history, background and socio-cultural environment. But far from posing a threat to the gospel we know and love, this new insight allows us to appreciate the richness of the gospel like never before and the capacity to bring it with new power to the Australian sub-cultures which we engage.

In this unit, students will seek to understand how the gospel speaks into and subverts different Australian sub-cultures, including suburban, battler, urban and first generation immigrant cultures. They will also be given the opportunity to conduct ‘cultural exegesis’ in the field, to develop their skills in contextualisation.

This unit is about rethinking assumptions, developing a greater cultural sensitivity and humility when approaching another culture and forcing oneself to stop, look and listen; skills that will stay with you for life.



  1. The Suburban Captivity of the Church

Section A: Culture

  1. Worldview, Culture and Cultural Narrative
  2. Field Trip: Analysis of the urban environment
  3. Urban Culture Case Study
  4. Individual/Group Field Trip
  5. Presentations

Section B: Gospel

  1. What is the Gospel?
  2. Gospel Contextualisation
  3. Case Study: Battlers
  4. Contextualisation Presentations

Section C: Church

  1. Evaluating our Operational Ecclesiologies
  2. Towards a Missional Ecclesiology

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course you will:

  • Understand the nature of culture, its influence and how to discern a cultural narrative;
  • explain the nature of the gospel, and the principles, process and limitations of contextualization;
  • critically evaluate an operational ecclesiology in the light of a biblical theology of the church and mission;
  • integrate your learning by exegeting a culture and contextualize the gospel for that culture, recognizing the particular challenges for the life and witness of the church.


Reading Accountability
Weight: 10%
Reading summaries and reflection exercises
700 level (6 credit points: standard pathway) – 8,000 words
Cultural exegesis – 2,000 words (25%)
Gospel contextualisation – 2,000 words (25%)
Church assignment – 1,500 words (20%)
Reading accountability – 10%
Online contribution – 20%

700 level (4 credit points: accelerated pathway) – 7,000 words
Cultural exegesis – 1,750 words (25%)
Gospel contextualisation – 1,750 words (25%)
Church assignment – 1,250 words (20%)
Reading accountability – 10%
Online contribution – 20%


We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Ridley College campus is built. Ridley College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS Provider Code 02650E. © 2019 Copyright. All Rights Reserved.