David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Missions (Maryknoll: Orbis

Carver T. Yu, Being and Relation: A Theological Critique of Western Dualism and Individualism

60 (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, i987), pp. 64—ii4.

Ibid., pp. 147—235. 61 Hwa, Mangoes or Bananas?, pp. 49—55.

mindset has been strongly challenged by the rise of classical Pentecos-talism and the charismatic movement from within the western church. Consequently, in the future the church worldwide will have to give the gifts of the Spirit and the healing and deliverance ministries a greater role in its mission and theology.

Contextual theology

The overwhelming predominance of western culture in the modern world (at least until the middle of the twentieth century) meant that almost every impulse towards contextualizing or indigenizing Christianity in the non-western world faced entrenched opposition, both active and passive. Some efforts at contextualizing succeeded nonetheless and after the Second World War attempts to contextualize Christianity became more conscious and intentional. Apart from the emphases on holistic mission and the supernatural, we have also noted the emergence of various indigenous versions of apologetics and ecclesiology. Hence, it is almost certain that the Protestant world will be vastly reshaped theologically and ecclesiologically in twenty-first-century Asia.

Theology and religions: addressing cultural and religious plurality

Finally, for mature forms of indigenous Christianity to blossom in Asia, it must address the challenge posed by cultural and religious plurality. Unfortunately, the approach that has often been taken by liberals presupposes a religious pluralism that asserts that all religions are essentially expressions of the same reality. What is often not recognized at the moment, even by many Asian writers, is that religious pluralism is a western problem defined by western culture's captivity to the Enlight-enment.62 Tom Driver, who is a religious pluralist, openly admits that the whole discussion 'belongs to Western liberal religious thought at the present time ... couched in Western terms, addressed to Western audiences and aimed at the Western conscience'.63 If this is so, then Asian scholars need to find a different way of approaching the issue. Asian Christians can learn much from the Apologists, whose writings formed

Tom Driver, 'The Case for Pluralism', in John Hick and Paul F. Knitter (eds.), The Myth of Christian Uniqueness: Towards a Pluralistic Theology of Religions (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1987), pp. 203—18 at p. 206.

one of the earliest corpuses of indigenous theology in the Early Church; but to accomplish the same in the church today, we need to master the various cultural and religious traditions of Asia.

At the other extreme, some Asian conservatives, who reject religious pluralism in favour of rigid exclusivism, treat almost everything in their indigenous cultures and traditional religions as demonic, or at least as unworthy of being incorporated into Christianity, resulting in an essentially western Christianity. What is needed therefore is the development of a fully satisfactory theology of cultural and religious plurality, as opposed to one of religious pluralism, which takes seriously Christian and biblical distinctiveness on the one hand, and recognizes both evil and goodness in human cultures and religious pursuits on the other. This work has begun,64 as we have seen above, but more is required in order to lay an adequate foundation for mission and evangelism in the twenty-first century.


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