BEVIN – MODELS OF CONTEXTUAL THEOLOGY
People today are pressured by world events, life events, and spiritual relations. A preacher today must be aware of all these events previously mentioned. These events affect the preacher as whereas their congregants. To spark their interest in the sermon or biblical lesson, one must address them at their need. My senior pastor said in our Ministers in Training (MIT) session, “make your sermon portable.” They need to take what you said and be able to apply it in their lives.
Bevin states that contextual theology should include the “scripture, tradition, and present human experience—or context.” (Location 198, Kindle) The context includes personal experience, and their community. This reminded me of my MIT session and a course I attended in seminary entitled, “Jesus, The Master Teacher.” We studied his sermons and speeches to the people. He was a master at telling stories. He would teach in parables which related to their life experiences and culture. This assisted in their learning and understanding about God, the Messiah, Heaven, salvation, and eternal life. He Jesus is an excellent example of one utilizing contextual theology. Jesus spoke to the woman at the well and shared what he knew about her personal life, which encouraged her to tell others about a man who knew everything about her. Another example, Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about being a neighbor telling the story about an individual begin robbed and left for dead. He spoke on how the priest and the Levite did not help the man. A Samaritan came by and not only assisted him but provided shelter for him. (Luke 10)
Bevin identified two factors to support the need for contextual theology, they were: External and Internal. External covers historical events, intellectual currents, cultural shifts, and political forces. (Location 335, Kindle) Internal factors represent the incarnational nature of Christianity, sacramental nature reality, (location 414, Kindle) understanding the nature of divine revelation (location 425, Kindle), and the essence of what the church of Christ should try to be (Location 458, Kindle), and the Trinity. (Location 480, Kindle)
Stephen Garner gave is views on Bevan’s Contextual Theology. Bevan’s mentioned six models of Contextual Theology. Garner addressed the Praxis Model and referred to it as “pastor cycle.” He states with this model you must “(1) listen to the stories of those affected; 2) seek a deeper understanding of their community, 3) personal experience is brought into dialogue, and 4) bringing the story, questions, and resources together in a theological way of thinking. Bevan says Praxis is an alternative word to practice or action.”  It is challenging to integrate the various sources that contribute to the development of a logical or balance theology when preaching or teaching, yet it is necessary. As a pastor or leader, you are a shepherd to many with different cultural backgrounds, life experiences, spiritual maturity, and personal development. You cannot at all times provide a lesson that will address all but understanding your audience helps one to cover most.
 Stephen Garner, Contextual and Public Theology: Passing Fads or Theological Imperatives, accessed 01/21/2017