Theology, Ecclesiology and Mission

Theology, Ecclesiology and Mission (Part 3 of 3)
Taiwanese Contextual Theology in the Third Generation
Jonathan A. Seitz. Taiwan Theological Seminary / Presbyterian Church USA, Assistant Professor /
Mission Co-worker
Taiwan played a key role in defining “contextual theology,” particularly through the work of
Shoki Coe and CS Sung, who began publishing influential works more than forty years ago. The
Presbyterian Church of Taiwan produced a famous confession during the era of Taiwan’s White Terror
and has publicly promoted contextual theology for most of its modern history. Today its three seminaries
each include a three course sequence designed to encourage contextualization (Contextual Theology;
History of Christianity in Taiwan; Taiwanese religions), require courses in Taiwanese languages, and
demand that students be able to preach in their mother tongue. At the same time, contextual theology
shows signs of strain as it confronts a church struggling to reach a new generation, to maintain a shared
witness in society, and to articulate a theology that is contextual in a globalizing world.
Bible Interpretation, Contextualization and the Contemporary World
Larry W. Caldwell, Ph.D. Prof Intercultural Studies, Sioux Falls Seminary
Contextualization came of age in the 20th century and its basic assumptions carry on into the 21st.
One underlying assumption that missiologists rightly continue to stress is the need for local peoples to do
their own contextualization and, thus, to do their own theologizing. However, this assumption assumes
still another assumption, one that is usually not talked about. This unspoken assumption is that the
hermeneutics that are used to arrive at those contextualized local theologies are neutral. This unspoken
assumption takes it for granted that the dominant hermeneutical model taught and used by most
Westerners and nonWesterners worldwide works for all cultures and all peoples. This paper questions this
unspoken assumption, in three parts. Part 1 will deal with what this dominant hermeneutical method
entails and the fact that its continued unquestioned use worldwide implies that the days of colonization in
missiology may not have ended. Part 2 will then look at biblical alternatives to this colonizied
hermeneutical method as perhaps a way out of the impasse. Part 3 follows with some strategies for both
missiologists and their institutions to understand as they endeavor to exegete both the biblical text as well
as the culture of the people attempting to interpret that text. Suggested action steps will conclude the
The Social Aspect of Inaugurated Eschatology: Theological Foundations for Contextualization
Sue Russell. Biola University, Associate Professor
Pauline theology is marked by a distinct understanding that the cross marks a change in the
eons—the new has dawned in the present age. In this paper I demonstrate that there are three parallel yet
distinct aspects to inaugurated eschatology in Pauline theology: temporal (already/not yet), individual
(Spirit/flesh), and social. I demonstrate the social aspect of inaugurated eschatology can be framed as a
liminal period that people enter into when they become followers of Christ. Using Victory Turner’s
concept of communitas, structure and anti-structure I argue that the unique feature of Christian
communities were that they were to live anti-structural “in-Christ” relationships within the structures of
their society. Finally I discuss the implications of the theological foundations of living anti-structurally
within structure for contextualization.