An Exploration of the Influence of Country of Origin on Perceptions of God in a Multicultural Church

Paul Porta

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the relationship between “country of origin” and “perceptions of God”. The researcher’s own experience as a social and theological “other” in Brazil and personal observation in an Australian multicultural church led to this concern. It is this experience that gave rise to the research hypothesis that a person’s country of origin influences their perceptions of God’s relational attributes such as love, mercy, grace, judgement and wrath.
The thesis draws upon personal experience – “a poetics of witness” – as well as the emerging discipline of an ordinary theology. For the sake of a plausible research, the results of an ordinary theology have been set against a more formal academic understanding of Pentecostal theology and its doctrine of God.
The research hypothesis was tested through an ethnographic research of members of Inspire Church, a significant multicultural church in Liverpool, Western Sydney. Participants responded to a quantitative and qualitative questionnaire based on how they perceived the relational attributes of God. The responses were analysed through what is termed a triangulated procedure. The method was supported with open discussions held during what are called Connect Group meetings.
The research carried out at Inspire Church provides an initial contribution to further research of culturally and ethnically formed ordinary theologies within the Australian multicultural church. It allows such churches to be identified as havens of belief and belonging to those seeking diverse refuges in contemporary Australia.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Ministry
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Pearson, Clive, Principal Supervisor
  • Pocock, Peter, Co-Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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