Claiming the Promised Land


Dismantling the Doctrines that Shaped the World. Facilitated by Sarah Augustine.

The recording of this live session will be available as quickly as possible following the class.



The “Doctrine of Discovery” is a philosophical and legal framework dating to the 15th century that gave Christian governments moral and legal rights to invade and seize indigenous lands and dominate Indigenous Peoples. The Doctrine of Discovery is enshrined in the US legal paradigm, where case-law is based on a series of Supreme Court decisions from 1823. The patterns of oppression that continue to dispossess Indigenous Peoples of their lands today are found in numerous historical documents such as Papal Bulls, Royal Charters and U.S. Supreme Court rulings as recent as 2005. Collectively, these and other concepts form a paradigm of domination that legitimates extractive industries that displace and destroy many Indigenous Peoples and other vulnerable communities, as well as harm the earth.  What is the religious justification for this doctrine?  Together, we will explore a theological framework for decolonizing the Doctrine of Discovery and identify concrete steps toward seeking repair.

Topics We’ll Cover:

  • The Christian story that justified conquest
  • How the Christian Doctrine of Discovery became part of the legal system: the 1823 Marshall decisions
  • Luke chapter 4: Jesus’ Mandate and a theological framework for decolonization
  • Creation is unfolding: the connection between earth care and decolonization
  • Following Jesus’ call: concrete steps toward repair 

This Class Includes:

  • One-night live class 
  • Live Q&A session 
  • Link to class recording
  • Downloadable class slides