Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Brian McKinlay

Proposed Title

Rowan Williams's Theology of Conflict,Unity and Solidarity


The church has known tension between identity and difference since its beginnings, with frequent disagreement and conflict. The primary purpose of this study is to ask how conflict in the church and society may be understood theologically, through a study of Rowan Williams’s response to that question. Williams’s thesis is that conflict and difference are constitutive of human oneness, theologically and historically—especially in the church. Is conflict therefore a necessity in God’s scheme of things?

The second purpose in this project, related to the first, is a critical study of how Rowan Williams envisages unity within the church and in society. Solidarity is examined as category through which to understand the oneness of the church and of all creatures in Williams’s theology. Christians work for solidarity in Christ even as they struggle with differences and conflict.

Why I chose CSU

I took up theological study after retirement from long career as a research librarian. Having completed honours and masters, specializing in systematic theology, I am pleased to be able to work on a research task of great interest to me.


  • Participant in the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network
  • Member of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools


Ludwig Wittgenstein in Rowan Williams's Theological Account of Language, New Blackfriars (2017, in press) doi 10.1111/nbfr.12225.

Revelation in Nicolas Berdyaev's Religious Philosophy,Open Theology 3 (2017): 117–133. doi 10.1515/opth-2017-0009.

Public Theology's Contribution to the Debate on Climate Change. Uniting Church Studies 20, no. 1 (2014):61-81.