Economic Globalization and Asian Contextual Theology

By Wijaya, Yahya | Theological Studies, June 2008 | Go to article overview

Economic Globalization and Asian Contextual Theology


Wijaya, Yahya, Theological Studies


THEOLOGICAL EVALUATIONS OF GLOBALIZATION often exhibit a polarization between an optimistic camp that celebrates globalization as an instrument of salvation in the world, and a pessimistic camp that condemns it as a force of destruction. Stephen Webb, (1) professor of religion and philosophy at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, exemplifies the optimistic camp. He addresses both the economic and moral-spiritual dimensions of globalization. The economic dimension, driven by American-based corporations and other political-economic institutions, may contain selfish motivation and false achievements. Nevertheless, he contends, the moral-spiritual dimension, in which the American-based evangelical movement plays a determining role, will keep globalization on the track of God's providence.

The position promoted by Webb may reflect the attitude of many new churches in Asia belonging to the evangelical and charismatic movements, which attract growing numbers of business executives and professionals. Such a position, however, receives little sympathy in the sphere of academic theology in the Global South, and may have only a handful of proponents even in the West. Theologians belonging to the so-called contextual theology movement, which is the dominant theological discourse in the Global South, tend to take the side of the pessimistic camp.

In a volume focusing on globalization, the Journal of Theologies and Cultures in Asia (JTCA) published papers presented in a theological consultation held in Bali in 2002 and organized by the Programme for Theology and Cultures in Asia (PTCA), a forum of the Asian contextual theologians. While many recognized the existence of competing views, every article in the volume highlighted globalization's threats, negative consequences, injustices, or neo-imperialistic nature. For the Asian contextual theologians, globalization endangers not only the economic liberty but also the cultural identity of Asia, because it brings a Western-directed drive toward cultural homogenization. It is therefore an important task of Asian theologians, so it is argued, to construct a theological foundation for resisting globalization. I intend to confirm such an argument, considering the experience of the business community in Indonesia as it relates to the process of the integration of the Indonesian economy into the global market.

CONTEXTUAL THEOLOGY'S CRITIQUE OF GLOBALIZATION

Globalization is not a new phenomenon. In fact, early Christian missionary work among Asian peoples shared characteristics with contemporary globalization. If globalization is Western-oriented, so was evangelism. Western missionaries brought Western ideas, arts, education, language, and ways of life, claiming that these were superior to the local, Asian traditions. This has produced Asian churches that, in many ways, are duplicates of Western churches: adherents sing Western hymns, construct church buildings of Western architecture, confess creeds that reflect the experience of Western societies, and even divide themselves according to the division of Western Christianity. The approach of the contemporary American evangelical movement, to which Webb refers, is basically the same as that of the past evangelism, despite its use of new technology and management techniques. (2)

The contextual theology movement, on the contrary, is an attempt at repentance. It proclaims the worthiness of Asian cultures as contexts where the gospel can be properly understood and lived out. It promotes the exploration of Asian cultural and moral resources rather than the continuing use of Western patterns and methods. In other words, contextual theologians attempt to dehomogenize Christianity by criticizing facile claims to universality and showing more appreciation for local cultures. From the perspective of contextual theology, globalization looks more like a setback than progress, a return to the same path of past evangelization. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Economic Globalization and Asian Contextual Theology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.