Confessing the Faith: Christian Theology in a North American Context

Confessing the Faith: Christian Theology in a North American Context

Confessing the Faith: Christian Theology in a North American Context

Confessing the Faith: Christian Theology in a North American Context

Excerpt

This is the third and final volume of a series whose main intention has been to consider the whole substance of the Christian faith from the perspective of “a North American context.” Two observations need to be made concerning this phrase from the common subtitle of the three books.

First, about contextuality. Since I began to use this term more than twenty years ago, it has become something of a cliché. Theologians are (or should be) very skeptical about such terms. Chances are that when they are widely used, they are used indiscriminately. They acquire a reputation for correctness among this or that segment of the community, and when that happens they no longer connote anything in particular, but only denote (for those “in the know”) some vague feeling of approval.

For that reason, I have sometimes considered dispensing with the term “context” altogether; but it is such an important term that I could not bring myself to do so. Instead, I would urge the reader of this third volume to reread, in the light of the overuse and misuse of the term, what I wrote about it in detail in the first volume, Thinking the Faith. Like all other theological language, this term is not without its dangers; so I would ask the reader to consider that part of the discussion in that volume as well.

1. Thinking the Faith: Christian Theology in a North American Context (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991), chap. 1, §4, 110–26. See also my article “Contextual Theology” in the Dictionary of Ethics, Theology, and Society, ed. Robert Potts (London: Routledge, forthcoming, 1996).

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