God, Mystery, Diversity: Christian Theology in a Pluralistic World

God, Mystery, Diversity: Christian Theology in a Pluralistic World

God, Mystery, Diversity: Christian Theology in a Pluralistic World

God, Mystery, Diversity: Christian Theology in a Pluralistic World

Synopsis

In this frank and stimulating book, senior theologian Kaufman lays out in brief compass his historicist approach to Christian theology and central Christian mysteries, especially as they impinge on today's radically pluralistic religious and cultural scene and the moral challenges presented globally by it.

Excerpt

In 1975 the first edition of my Essay on Theological Method—in which I argued that Christian theology is, and always has been, an activity of “imaginative construction” by persons and communities attempting to set out a comprehensive and coherent picture of humanity in the world under God—was published. in the following academic year (1976–77) I served as a visiting professor at the United Theological College in Bangalore, India. This gave me an opportunity to test, for the first time in a nonwestern setting, the conception of theology that I had sketched in that small book. the openness and freedom to move in new directions encouraged by the notion of imaginative construction proved liberating for many of my students at the college, who had felt bound to highly westernized versions of Christian faith. It also freed me, in my contacts with representatives of nonwestern religious traditions, from the burden of attempting always to defend traditional Christian dogma. I was led instead to listen and learn from these others with whom I was in dialogue and to consider the implications their views might have for reformulation of the Christian message in ways more suited to the Indian sociocultural and religious world. the conception of theology, and the way to do theology, to which I had become increasingly committed in the previous four or five years showed itself pertinent not only to the situation of Christianity in the West: it also seemed to help Indian Christians in their attempts to contextualize their own faiths more adequately. Moreover, it opened doors to stimulating and creative conversation with representatives of non-Christian religious (and secular) communities.

During this stay in India I wrote two articles dealing with some of these matters, publishing them both under Indian auspices. Revised versions of these essays were later included in my book, The Theological Imagination: Constructing the Concept of God; and, with further revision and updating, they now appear as Chapters 1 and 2 in this book. These essays represent my first attempts to come to terms publicly with some of the issues . . .

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