Contextual Theology for the Twenty-First Century

By Stephen B. Bevans and Katalina Tahaafe-Williams (editors)

Essays exploring a new and inclusive approach to theology that is sensitive to the diversity of cultural contexts within the modern, global Church.

ISBN: 9780227679982


Scholars from the United States, Latin America, and Oceania reflect in this volume on the importance of contextual theology for the twenty-first century. Contextual theology offers fresh voices from every culture, and not just from the West. It calls for new ways of doing theology that embrace cultural values, but at the same time challenges them to the core. And it opens up new and fresh topics out of which and about which people can theologise. If the church is to be faithful to its mission, it needs to provide a feast at which all can be nourished.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 154

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Stephen Bevans is Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD, Professor of Mission and Culture at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, USA. He is the author of Models of Contextual Theology (2002) and An Introduction to Theology in Global Perspective (2009).

Katalina Tahaafe-Williams is the Director of Communitas, a program of contextual and public theology at United Theological College, Paramatta, NSW, Australia. She is a co-author of The Multicultural Toolkit (2005) and Mission and Ministry in Multicultural Contexts (2009).


Preface / Stephen B. Bevans and Katalina Tahaafe-Williams

Part 1: Contextual Theology and the Twenty-First Century Church
1. What Has Contextual Theology to Offer the Church of the Twenty-First Century? / Stephen B. Bevans
2. The Centrality of Contextual Theology for Christian Existence Today / James Haire
3. The Cons of Contextuality … Kontextuality / Jione Havea

Part 2: Theology in Particular Contexts
4. The Necessity of a Second Peoples’ Theology in Australia / Chris Budden
5. Context, Controversy, and Contradiction in Contemporary Theological Education:
     Who Bene “Fits” and Who Just Simply Doesn’t Fit? / Jenny Te Paa
6. A Future for Latin American Liberation Theology? / Carmelo E. Álvarez

Part 3: Contextual Theology and the Mission of the Church
7. A Theology of Mission for the Church of the Twenty-First Century:
     Mission as Prophetic Dialogue / Stephen B. Bevans
8. Mission as an Invitation to the Feast of Life: Revisioning the Ecumenical
     Understanding and Practice of Mission in the Twenty-First Century / Jooseop Keum

Concluding Reflections / Stephen B. Bevans and Katalina Tahaafe-Williams
Notes on the Contributors


Endorsements and Reviews

Rarely do collections of contextual theology deal with both specific contexts and more general questions of contextual method. In this compact collection every essay grapples with both aspects in a lively way. It is on the forefront of missiological thinking. A significant book with some real gems, particularly for Australasia and the South Pacific, but ranging beyond the region.
Ross Langmead, Dean and Professor of Missiology, Whitley College, Melbourne College of Divinity, Australia

I have been looking for such a book! The eight essays in this volume provide challenging, fresh insight for our theological agenda. It addresses critical issues on both method and content for contextual theology today.
Philip Gibbs, SVD, Commission for Social Concerns, Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Papua New Guinea

Contextual Theology for the Twenty-First Century demonstrates how contextual theology should shape the work of contemporary theologians and missiologists. The different authors convincingly argue that contextual theology is not an option, but a theological imperative as Christian churches respond to the challenges of being disciples of Jesus in the postmodern, postcolonial world. One of the book’s strengths is the inclusion of Oceanic voices, so often forgotten by the theological community.
Susan Smith, Adjunct Faculty, School of Theology, University of Auckland

This book will certainly be a valuable asset to anyone interested in contextual theology in the 21st century, not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but wherever faith life struggles to be contextual and relevant.
P.T. Mathew SJ, in Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection, Vol 77, No 8

The tension between some of the essays results in a dialogue which is engaging and an important read for anyone interested in mission, contextual theology or theological education.
Jenny Anne Wright, University of Edinburgh, in Theological Book Review, Vol 25, No 1

… refreshing, challenging, critical, and hope-filled. Refreshing because elements of ‘traditional theology’ are still relevant; challenging because it highlights new situations for contextual theology in economically globalised existences, critical because it asks relevant questions about once-accepted and once-revered dominant theologies, worldviews and epistemologies; hope-filled because it discusses viable options and directions for the future.
Marcus Campbell, in Anthropological Forum, Vol 24, Issue 1

This slim volume is a minor gem in both its critique and its vision for the future. It should make the reading list of any course in contextual and global theology.
John Mansford Prior, in Mission Studies, Vol 31

This slim volume is a minor gem in both its critique and its vision for the future. It should make the reading list of any course in contextual and global theology. All the essays are authored by ecumenical theologians and educators, people of hope and verve. They are deeply committed to mission, and willing to let the Spirit lead them where she will.
John Mansford Prior, in Mission Studies, Vol 31