Models of Contextual Theology
This book deals with the three theological sources (loci theologici) of tradition, Scripture and culture and how these interact with each other in the formation of our theology. It offers us six models of contextual theology, each of which places different weight or emphasis on the three respective sources. It emphasises the essential importance of context in the formation of our theology.
Some basic reflections:
- Is contextual theology not just another way of describing hermeneutics? What does Scripture mean, how do we interpret it and how do we apply it in our particular context?
- If I have understood it correctly, I am very wary of the anthropological model. It sounds humanistic to me and appears to place far too much emphasis on culture and context at the expense of tradition and scripture.
- I think some of the very great problems of the “emerging church” and rising and falling leadership superstars of this age has been their abandonment of tradition (the living faith of our dead fathers) and scriptural orthodoxy. This has resulted in a great big blancmange of vacuous nothingness.
- One of the saddest things I have watched has been the likes of Rob Bell, turning away from the church and the pastorate and joining Oprah Winfrey in dispensing spiritual bromides and pop psychology. For me, he is the epitome of what happens when you get so in touch with culture and current trends and throw out orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
- Theology is “words about God” who is immutable and unchanging. An anthropological approach pays far too much attention to the mores and wants and trends and faddishness of culture and context.
- I am very wary of a theology that is so contextual – culturally sensitive – that it dismisses the idea of sound doctrine, handed down to us, the tradition of two thousand years of church history, the creeds, and the collective wisdom of the church fathers.
- I totally agree on the need to contextualise our theology, to apply it, and to work out the cultural complications of the original text of scripture and to attempt to bridge the cultural gap between now and then. I don’t think this is easy work.
- I do think that the church has been deeply compromised by the culture of our day. I would definitely subscribe more to the countercultural and translational models of theology than the others.
- It is not easy to be countercultural. We are so acclimatised to our culture and our traditions. It remains essential therefore, in my view, that we maintain a very high view of scripture and tradition, and remain wary of the latest cultural trends and fads.
- There is too much emphasis on what we want, what makes us happy, what is convenient, what is culturally acceptable, and not enough emphasis on discipleship, the cost of following Jesus, the opprobrium of the cross, and the cultural opposition that this inevitably brings.
- The church needs to speak more prophetically to culture, rather than continue to accommodate it. For me, this is the theological imperative of our day.