- Kitamori Kazoh
- (1916-1988)Japanese Christian theologian of Pain of God theologyKitamori Kazoh was born in Kumamoto, Japan,in 1916. He grew up in a Christian context and graduated from both the Lutheran Theological seminary in Tokyo and Kyoto imperial University. He joined the faculty of Eastern Japan (later Tokyo Union) Theological seminary in 1943 and remained there until his retirement in 1984. While teaching, he also served as pastor of a Kyo-dan (United Church of Christ) congregation and continued until 1986.Kitamori is remembered for his articulation of a theology of contextualization (interpreting Christianity in a local cultural context), which he called the Pain of God theology. He first broached the subject in a 1946 volume, The Theology of the Pain of God, which went through 12 editions in his lifetime. An English edition appeared in 1965.Kitamori rejected the Western notion that God was incapable of suffering. Building on Jeremiah 31:20, he believed the phrase "My heart is pained" suggests the essential nature of God. on the cross, God's pain overcomes his wrath and mediates between his love and the demands of justice. He critiqued Western theologies based largely on either God's love or the idea of election. A number of Western theologians have responded positively to his insights.Kitamori died in Tokyo in 1988.Further reading:■ Yasuo Furuya, A History of Japanese Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerd-mans, 1997)■ Kitamori Kazoh, The Theology of the Pain of God (Richmond, Va.: John Knox Press, 1965)■ Carl Michalson, Japanese Contributions to Christian Theology (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960)■ Scott W. Sunquist, ed., A Dictionary of Asian Christianity (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2001).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.