Asian Voices in Christian Theology

Asian Voices in Christian Theology

Asian Voices in Christian Theology

Asian Voices in Christian Theology

Excerpt

A church historian in the Philippines wrote recently that "a radical shift of perspective" is now required to make the Church conscious of "the new center of gravity of the people of God." The required shift is away from a North Atlantic tribalistic mentality, which assumes that everything of importance in the life and thought of the Church happens somewhere between Rome and Berkeley, California, toward an awareness that the areas of greatest church growth and theological vitality today are in the so-called Third World (actually the two- thirds world) of Asia, Africa, and Latin America--where the majority of Christians will be living in the year 2000.

Christian theology has suffered from a state of "Teutonic captivity"--seldom getting "the chance to break out of the Western historical and cultural framework to which the Word of God in the Bible has been made captive," says Choan-seng Song. A few years ago the editor of The Christian Century (the triumphalism of the title is an embarrassing reminder of the problem) pointed out that "the Aryan bias of Christian doctrine is perhaps the most serious intellectual obstacle to full ecumenical fellowship with the younger churches, to their own theological creativity, and to Christian evangelism in Asia, Africa, and Latin America."

The great new fact of our time, however, is the break from Teutonic captivity by Christian theologians in the Third World as they seek to reconceptualize the God of biblical revelation within the context of their different cultures. This volume focuses upon that experience among Protestants in Asia and the emergence of "a third perspective" in Christian theology, in contrast to that of the Latin and Greek theological traditions which emanated from the Greco-Roman cultural matrix.

Asian theologians are proposing today what they call the "critical Asian principle" as a method for doing theology in their situations. They are not yet very clear about it, but as they struggle to discover its . . .

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