contextualization
   Contextualization is the general label under which the long-term move to de-Westernize the global Protestant movement has proceeded in recent decades. As originally defined in 1972 by the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches, contextualization is the ability to respond to the Gospel out of one's own situation - with a stress on situations outside Europe and North America. While originally referring to theology, the term was soon picked up by missiologists, theoreticians of the missionary enterprise.
   There had been a growing belief that non-Western churches should become autonomous of the missionary agencies that had originally worked to found them. The call for indigenous leadership had been made by, for example, Henry Venn (1796-1873) of the Church Missionary Society (the three-self principles), and Methodist William Taylor (1821-1902). However, they did not gain a serious hearing until post-World War II decolonialization forced missionaries to turn over control of most churches, and a major shift of power occurred within the Protestant community.
   Almost immediately, new voices arose to articulate long-felt concerns. The first manifestation was liberation theology, which arose in South America at the end of the 1960s, and spread in the next two decades to disenfranchised groups in the West (African Americans, women) and to churches in Africa and Asia. At first, the movement focused on removing European-based male leadership, which some perceived as a threat to traditional Protestant structures. Later on, the emphasis in the new Asian, African, and South American theological texts shifted to a call for creative and responsible appropriation of the Gospel message by non-Western Christians. This trend was supported by grants released through the Theological Education Fund.
   The call for contextualization was also heard among Evangelicals who launched the Lausanne Movement, which aimed to focus on unreached peoples. As early as 1978, Lausanne leadership sponsored a conference to examine the cultural contexts in which they hoped to plant new churches. Evangelicals have generally seen the spread of the Gospel as the start of a conversation between new believers and the Bible that takes into account their own milieu. The effort has stimulated new Bible studies that emphasize the original context and message of the Bible as well as each particular cultural context.
   Further reading:
   ■ John W. De Gruchy, John W. Charles Villa-Vicencio, and Charles Villa-Vicencio, eds., Doing Theology in Context: South African Perspectives (Mary-knoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1994)
   ■ Virginia Fabella and Mercy Amba Oduyoye, eds., With Passion and Compassion: Third World Women Doing Theology (Mary-knoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1988)
   ■ Dean Gilliland, "Contextualization," in Moreau, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, ed. A. Scott Moreau (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 2000)
   ■ John S. Mbiti, Bible and Theology in African Christianity (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1986).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Contextualization — may refer to: Contextualization (Bible translation), the process of contextualising the biblical message as perceived in the missionary mandate originated by Jesus Contextualization (sociolinguistics), the use of language and discourse to signal… …   Wikipedia

  • contextualization — (Amer.) n. act or process of puttinga word or a phrase in context; process of placing an idea or activity within an appropriate context (also contextualisation) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • contextualization — noun see contextualize …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • contextualization — See contextualize. * * * …   Universalium

  • contextualization — noun the act or process of putting information into context; making sense of information from the situation or location in which the information was found …   Wiktionary

  • contextualization — con·tex·tu·al·iza·tion …   English syllables

  • contextualization — noun see contextualize …   Useful english dictionary

  • Contextualization (Bible translation) — In the field of Bible translation and interpretation, contextualization is the process of assigning meaning as a means of interpreting the environment within which a text or action is executed. The term was first used in missiology by Shoki Coe… …   Wikipedia

  • Contextualization (sociolinguistics) — For other uses, see Contextualization. Contextualization in sociolinguistics refers to the use of language and discourse to signal relevant aspects of an interactional or communicative situation. Basil Bernstein (1990 [1971]) uses… …   Wikipedia

  • contextualization of theology —  Контекстуализация теологии …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

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