The article begins with a description of how ecclesiological research within Practical Theology (PT) has changed over time. By a critical analysis of the ecclesiologies "the new view of the Church" (den nya kyrkosynen), and "the service-centric view of the Folk Church" (den tjänsteinriktade folkkyrkosynen), the use of empirics and theory in church research and its impact on church practices is problematized. While "the empirical turn" in the 1960’s became associated with PT, the empirical turn in Sweden instead developed within the social sciences of religion. One underlying possible factor for this development was a predominant scientific view that emphasized the difference between descriptive and normative science. Theology was criticized for resting on metaphysical assumptions and theologians reacted by making a clear distinction between what they saw as "scientific" and "Church" theology. Hence, theory and practice came to be separated. On the basis of the two ecclesiologies both a "top-down perspective" without empirical approach in Church research, and a typical "bottom-up perspective" without a theologically normative approach are problematized. The conclusion emphasizes the importance of intradisciplinary research for dynamic interaction between empirical analysis and theological interpretation, and interaction between induction and deduction that allows continuous interplay between theory and empiricism. This enables a critical attitude to be maintained both to the Church practice that is empirically analyzed, and to the ecclesiological theories by which analysis and interpretation are made.
|Journal||Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|