Models of Contextual Theology, by Stephen Bevans, resonated with me because it explains theology within the context of one’s culture and experience. This book explores the differences between traditional and contextual theology.
In the opening chapter of his book, Bevan states, “There is no such thing as “theology”; there is only contextual theology: feminist theology, black theology, liberation theology, Filipino theology, Asian-American theology, African theology, and so forth.” I have to admit that this did not set well with me, because I had been taught to study theology in a Western traditional context. I’ve always strived to study God’s attributes and to interpret Scripture by removing yourself and your bias. After reading Bevan’s book, I see the value in studying Scripture through a contextual theological lens. According to Bevan’s contextual theology considers tradition, culture, history, thoughts, etc. when exploring our theological reality. He explains that theology comes from three sources: scripture, tradition, and present human experience.
From the Middle Ages, the study of traditional theology has been an emphasis in universities and seminaries, and by scholar’s and theologians. From my experience, this style of theological pursuit is still practiced in many Western Christian educational intuitions. The problem with this is that it is limited to individuals who are called into full time Christian work or academia. Traditional theology isn’t easily translated in current ministry applications. While there is a need for Traditional theological training, there is also a need for all Christians to understand and study theology. Contextual theology allows the average person to explore their faith more deeply as they apply it within their day-to-day life. Bevan states that, “a number of contextual theologians insist that theology is not really done by experts and then “tricked down” to the people for the consumption.”  What really happens is that many people don’t understand or they don’t know how to apply the theology to their everyday life. As a pastor, if I cannot convert my formal theological training into a real world context, then all my training is worthless. Likewise untrained Christians who are not guided or trained in solid theology have a high chance of developing theology that is unbiblical.
Dialogue between the people and the pastor would seem to be the best way to build a solid biblical theology. Contextual theology can help merge the life of the individual and the formal training of the pastor. These understandings will allow for the incorporation of Biblical principles into ones daily life. In my experience, I have witnessed two scenarios: 1) watered down Biblical talk, or 2) theology delivered in a traditional sense, in a way that people can’t relate to. As church leaders, we have to bring the two together, giving solid theological training by unpacking it in an actionable way that can be applied immediately within the world that people are living and operating in. However, the only way that pastors can do this is to get out of the church and understand people’s world. The walls need to come down, and pastors need to walk in the place as their parishioners.
 Bevans, Stephan B. (2013-11-20). Models of Contextual Theology (Faith and Culture) (Kindle Locations 178). Orbis Books. Kindle Edition.
 Ibid 541