Contextualization of the Gospel Andrew James Prince Author
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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. This is an outstanding book. Andrew Prince's thesis is convincing, that both Scripture and the church fathers can help to shape our approach to contextualizing the gospel today. . . . Pastors, missionaries, teachers, anyone engaged in Christian mission will benefit from this accessible and welcome resource. --Dean Flemming, MidAmerica Nazarene University Prince uses an old perspective to forge a new path in the contextualization discussion. His appeal to the church fathers is scholarly and creative; yet, he ultimately grounds his proposal on the Bible. Contextualization of the Gospel raises questions that need thoughtful answers. --Jackson Wu, author of One Gospel for All Nations and Saving God's Face This book challenges us to restore the balance between Scripture, the wisdom and insights of the Church's early missionaries as Christianity grappled with other religions, and the more traditional tenets based on modern anthropology and practical theology. --Wendy Mayer, Australian Lutheran College, University of Divinity Prince deftly guides us through the debates about missiology and contextualization, but warns that refusal to contextualize may equally foster syncretism. His fresh perspective offers a corrective to the traditional dependence on social sciences and practical theology, by demonstrating how the process can be governed by Scripture and nourished by the Church Fathers. --Richard J. Gibson, Brisbane School of Theology Prince provides a significant contribution to the current contextualization discussion by grounding his analysis of contextualization in four sermons found in Acts and offering an important window into the insights of Chrysostom. While focused on materials from the early church, Prince provides important bridges to current issues and debates in contextualization and clearly demonstrates the continuing relevance of the church fathers. --Scott Moreau, Wheaton College Graduate School Andrew Prince is a lecturer in Missiology and Practical Theology, and Director of the Center for Asian Christianity, at Brisbane School of Theology, Queensland, Australia.


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