Contextualization of Theology: An Evangelical Assessment

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9780878084319: Contextualization of Theology: An Evangelical Assessment
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Foreword by J. Herbert Kane (p. ix)
Introduction (p. xi)
Chapter 1. Contextualization: More than a Missiological Methodology (pages 1-12)
- The Ecumenical approach to dealing with the world.
- The background to Conciliar Contextualizing.
Chapter 2. The Theological Context: Political Theology (pages 13-32)
- Theology of Hope. Theology of Development. Liberation Theology. Black Theology.
- Political Theologies and the Consultation of 1971.
Chapter 3. Contextualization: The Public Pronouncement (pages 33-51)
- The "Working Policy" Considered. The Study Papers. Theology in the Americas.
- "Popular Contextualizers."
Chapter 4. An Evangelical Approach - Contextual-Indiginization (pages 52-76)
- Theology: An Attempt at Definition.
- Two Different Roots Produce Two Different Fruits.
- Communicating the Core in Awareness.
- Indigenization of the Gospel.
- Indigenization According to the TEF.
- Contextual-Indigenization Subdivided:
  of the Word - Inculturation
  of the Church and its Leadership - Indigenization
  of the Word by the Church - Ethnotheology
- Contextual-Indiginization Summarized
Chapter 5. Conclusions (pages 77-78)
Appendices A, B, C, D (pages 79-114)
Notes (pages 115-138)
Bibliography (pages 139-144)
Indexes (pages 145-147)

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From the Author:

  In 1972 the Theological Education Fund (TEF), a funding agency related to the World Council of Churches (WCC), publicly introduced the term "contextualization." The TEF mandated that all requests for funds would be considered in the light of how well each applicant contextualized. The TEF encouraged contextualization in one or more of the following areas: (1) missiology, (2) theological approach, (3) educational method, (4) educational structure. The first three chapters of this book are basically devoted to the background of the TEF proposals, the theological underpinnings of the proposals, and the form and implications of the proposals. Those who claimed to contextualize are classed into two groups: the technical contextualizers and the popular contextualizers.
  The first chapter discusses the consultation on "Dogmatic or Contextual Theology?" held at the Ecumenical Institute of the WCC at Bossey, Switzerland, in August 1971. Participants of the consultation were very much aware of the rapid social change occurring in cultures worldwide. The group was also sensitive to the declining influence of the churches of Europe. They saw confessional and dogmatic theologies as irrelevant and outdated. The group envisioned a dialectic between theological insights gained from working in a culture, and dogmatic or confessional theologies. The dialectical process was to result in a contextualized theology. Since the methodology included the context, it was assumed that the contextualized theology always would be relevant. Themes from political theologies were especially evident in the discussions.
  The fourth chapter presents a methodology and theology of the evangelical who are quite distinct from the contextualizers. They make rigorous use of historical-grammatical exegesis and the related distinction between special and general revelation.Only briefly mentioned are the indigenizers such as Henry Venn, John Nevius and Roland Allen. Much consideration is given to the second group, the contextual-indigenizers, a term coined by this author. This group accepts the basic premises of the indigenizers but also implements insights from modern contexts as discerned by anthropology and related social sciences, and evangelical missiology.
  The insights gained from the analysis of the contextualization/indigenization continuum, hopefully can be applied to the writings of most, if not all, writers in the field of theology in context in the 1970's.


"Written from an evangelical point of view, the book comes to grips with the gamut of prevailing opinion -- liberal, ecumenical, and evangelical. He is one of the few writers who appears to grasp the true meaning of contextualization as understood by those who coined the term. ... This book is a work of solid scholarship, yet written in such a readable fashion as to be of absorbing interest to all who are concerned for the theology of modern missions." J. Herbert Kane

"Contextualization and Bruce Fleming emerged on the mission scene about the same time -- the former as a concept and process that desperately needed clarification and evaluation, and the latter as a budding missionary scholar and practitioner with a keen mind and a dedicated heart. One of the happy results is this book -- a book that should rank high on the reading list of everyone who wants to remain contemporary with the ongoing mission of the church." David J. Hesselgrave

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Bruce C. E. Fleming
Published by William Carey Library (1980)
ISBN 10: 0878084312 ISBN 13: 9780878084319
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