Questions of Context - Reading a Century of German Mission Theology

Questions of Context - Reading a Century of German Mission Theology

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4.5 (2 ratings by Goodreads)

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The gospel is for every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 7:9), but there is no single biblical or theological model for the relationship between the gospel and these diverse cultures. Indeed, every suggested approach carries its own range of philosophical and theological commitments that all too often remain unexamined. Contextualization is fraught with challenges-yet wrestling with questions of context is essential for how we understand mission, theology, and the embodiment of the Christian faith.
German missiology has engaged these questions in a variety of ways that can both inform and critique Anglo-American traditions. In this compilation and analysis, John Flett and Henning Wrogemann translate and comment on a core thread of German missiological works, explaining both their historical and current significance. Drawn from journals and books across a century of academic discourse, these classic writings trace developments from Gustav Warneck, the father of contemporary missiology, through key thinkers such as Karl Hartenstein, who coined the term missio Dei, down to twenty-first century discussions of intercultural hermeneutics. Along the way they reveal advances, mistakes, and changing definitions as German missiologists interacted with the cultural and political realities of their time.
This longitudinal study, showcasing many texts available in English for the first time, tackles the history and dynamics of contextualization head-on and sheds new light on the state of missiology today. We are reminded, Flett and Wrogemann argue, that we must keep working to honor difference within the worldwide Christian community as necessary to the fullness of our being in Christ.
Missiological Engagements charts interdisciplinary and innovative trajectories in the history, theology, and practice of Christian mission, featuring contributions by leading thinkers from both the Euro-American West and the majority world whose missiological scholarship bridges church, academy, and society.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 248 pages
  • 153 x 228 x 22mm | 348g
  • IL, United States
  • English
  • 0830851089
  • 9780830851089
  • 1,060,647

Table of contents


Introduction: Is It Possible to Abandon Contextualization?

1. At the Beginning of German Mission Theory

2. Grounded in the Orders of Creation

3. Eschatology and Agency

4. The Widening of Horizons

5. Hermeneutics, Communication, and Translation

6. Intercultural Theology

Conclusion: The Proper Complexity of Context

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Review quote

The discipline of missiology has been one of the major drivers of the growing awareness of the need for intercultural theological exchange. At the same time, missiology has in other respects become more monochrome because of the dominance of the English language. Flett and Wrogemann have done us a great favor by making a selection of insightful German missiological contributions available in English and placing them in context with their careful introductions and conclusions. In the mirror of this missiological tradition we discover that understandings of mission and contextualization are themselves also shaped by their particular contexts. Their contextual limitations or even distortions remain hidden unless we engage in intercultural conversations about contextualization itself.--Benno van den Toren, professor of intercultural theology at the Protestant Theological University, Groningen, the Netherlands
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About John G. Flett

John G. Flett (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary; DHabil, Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel) lectures in intercultural theology and mission studies at Pilgrim Theological College, part of the University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Apostolicity: The Ecumenical Question in World Christian Perspective and The Witness of God: The Trinity, Missio Dei, Karl Barth and the Nature of Christian Community and is ordained in the Uniting Church in Australia. Henning Wrogemann (DTheol, DHabil, Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg) is a world-renowned missiologist and scholar of religion. He holds the chair for mission studies, comparative religion, and ecumenics at the Protestant University Wuppertal/Bethel in Germany, where he also heads the Institute for Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies. He is the author of Intercultural Theology.
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