Self Theology, Global Theology, And Missional Theology In The Writings Of Paul G. Hiebert -- By: Anonymous
TRINJ 30:2 (Fall 2009) p. 209
Self Theology, Global Theology, And Missional Theology In The Writings Of Paul G. Hiebert
Rochelle Cathcart And Mike Nichols
Rochelle Cathcart is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God and a Ph.D. student in Intercultural Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Mike Nichols is Professor and Program Director of Intercultural Studies at Lincoln Christian College and a Ph.D. student in Intercultural Studies at TEDS.
In a time when anthropology and missions were in a “Love/Hate relationship” (Hiebert 1978), Paul Hiebert was vocal in both disciplines, seeking to find a missionally-informed anthropology and an anthropologically-informed missiology. His life-long pursuit was to wed in appropriate fashion anthropology, missions, and theology. Subsequently, one of his often-addressed subjects was theology and its role in both the local and global church. He introduced the “fourth self” to the classical three-self indigenous church model and also believed that dialogue between “theologies” in the global hermeneutical community would lead the church toward a true metatheology, or “global theology,” coming ever closer to the more complete truth of theology as God sees it-Hiebert constantly revisited the correctness and effectiveness of theological praxis within the church, and the final articulation of his vision for a global theology was his idea of “missional theology.” This paper will (a) trace Hiebert’s path to missional theology by reflecting on the principle arguments of self theology and global theology, (b) examine missional theology—both its context and its components, and (c) survey interactions with Hiebert’s theologizing within the larger dialogue of missiology.
II. Toward Missional Theology
The foundation of Hiebert’s thinking on theology can be traced along two paths: his views on contextualization and his views on epistemology. Though neither path is mutually exclusive, overlapping in significant ways, Hiebert’s understanding of contextualization largely fed his idea of self theology, and his embrace of critical-realist epistemology more specifically grounded
TRINJ 30:2 (Fall 2009) p. 210
his global theology. He eventually merged the ideas from his concepts of self theology and global theology into his missional theology.
One of Hiebert’s earliest publications, a 1973 article titled “Cultural Relativism and Theological Absolutes,” established the trajectory for Hiebert’s theologizing by revealing the ideas that became key components in each of his revisions and publications on theological praxis and missions. In the article, Hiebert affirms ...
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