Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Robert A. Hunt, the Gospel among the Nations: A Documentary History of Inculturation

Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Robert A. Hunt, the Gospel among the Nations: A Documentary History of Inculturation

Article excerpt

Robert A. Hunt, The Gospel among the Nations: A Documentary History of Inculturation. American Society of Missiology Series 46. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2010. Pp. 288. $35.00, paper.

"Charles Grant reportedly has said that 'Christianity is the chief civilizing agent in the colonies. In this, he said, the British were called to imitate the Roman conquerors who civilized and improved the nations whom they subdued" (a quotation from Hal W. French). This statement is an obvious example pointing out the beginning of merging colonization with missionary efforts in the colonies. Grant's belief is addressed in this book among many issues concerning imperialism and colonialism and their relationship to Christians and Christian missions. Disassociating the gospel and empire/colonialism is designed not for self-defense but for revealing the essence of each party, because both are different in nature and goals.

In Part I, Kiayi Sadrach is a Javanese Christian who refused to be in other's shoes for experiencing his Christian faith (p. 23). He taught his people about Jesus as the "ratu adil" (just king) and the "panutun" (exemplary figure) as an example of inculturation of the gospel as well as the disassociation. In short, he resists any impositions conducted by the missionaries upon him and his community, as they tried to colonize his traditional way of life and his theological struggle, including the wearing of traditional Java clothing. Similarly, William Harris of the Methodist church in Africa is another living example of inculturation (p. 23). Along with this is the rise of the ecumenical movement, which is also considered to be another concrete manifestation of the churches in fighting colonialism and imperialism residing in missionary works of the churches (p. …

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