Towards an 'otualogy: revisiting and rethinking the Doctrine of God in Tonga

Sioeli F. Vaipulu

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    2937 Downloads (Pure)


    The idea of God is pervasive in Tongan life. It is in the Government Constitution, in hymns, liturgies, and catechisms. It is also in the social life and consciousness of the Tongan people. The thesis is concerned with this embedded Christian idea of God in Tonga - that is the one that has been implanted in the life and belief of the Tongan people. The primary presumption is that the doctrine of God in Tonga is problematic. It functions to legitimize the patriarchal and the hierarchical social order of the Tongan society. The thesis aims at questioning this theory and practice of Christian doctrine of God, particularly on how it became a distorting theology of God in Tonga. The problem is presumed to be lying within the range of how the gospel was conveyed and received. The presumption includes the idea that in that practice of mission there was a sequence of doctrinal triumphalism and cultural ignorance. The basic argument of the thesis is dependent upon the quest for a more balanced view of God's transcendence and immanence. For the sake of a more meaningful understanding of God in Tonga the idea of God is and should be trans-immanental, trans-territorial, and trans-gender. It should not be confined to a particular culture or tradition nor be in service of particular interest or agenda. I am proposing to do an 'otualogy. It is a Tongan contextual theology that reads the idea of God through the lens of the tu'a (commoner, outsider) community. That is the meaning of 'otualogy. It is a doctrine of God from the perspective of the tu'a.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    • Pearson, Clive, Co-Supervisor
    • Burns, Stephen, Co-Supervisor
    Award date01 Mar 2013
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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