Contextualization of the Gospel: Towards an Evangelical Approach in the Light of Scripture and the Church Fathers
Publisher Wipf & Stock
There has been heightened interest and prolific publication by missiologists about contextualization since the term was first coined in 1972. There has been ongoing debate, particularly amongst evangelicals themselves regarding which of these meanings, methods, and models of contextualization are acceptable to use. Much of the debate has been carried out by academics and practitioners whose observations and conclusions have been largely shaped by the social sciences and practical theology. In contrast, the disciplines of biblical studies and Christian thought have not featured significantly in the debate. The purpose of this research is to establish that biblical studies and Christian thought in general (and Scripture and the church fathers in particular) have an essential contribution to make in the contextualization debate and should form part of an evangelical approach to contextualization of the gospel alongside the social sciences and practical theology. Following a review of the literature on contextualization over the past forty years, the research examines the book of Acts as representative of Scripture, and the work of John Chrysostom as a representative church father. Contextual principles that are consistent with an evangelical approach to contextualization of the gospel are drawn from each work, establishing the value of biblical studies and Christian thought in contextualization.