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Developing an Asian Evangelical Theology.

Why "Asian Evangelical Theology"? an Asian reader might well ask. "Is this something different from an 'Asian Christian Theology'?" If this book is intended mainly for an Asian audience, as it appears, why call attention to our internal family quarrels? Should not a genuine missiological concern move us toward a united Christian witness in our theological task in this most religiously pluralistic of continents? One could suggest a more appropriate title: Developing an Asian Christian Theology: An Evangelical Perspective."

The author is a professor of theology, religion and missions, and director of the Extension Program for the Asia Pacific Region, at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in the Philippines. Earlier he taught theology and missiology in the Republic of Korea.

Stults recognizes that Asian theology should properly be done by Asian Christians. Wisely, he does not attempt to construct theology for them but guides them to the sources and tools for doing theological reflection. He points out that, "Young Asian theologians often turn to the West for mentors, only to discover that the questions that occupy Western theologians do not always relate to the problems facing the church in Asia" (Preface).

One of the most valuable parts of the book is Part 2 on "Cultural and Contextual Considerations" and Part 3 on "Contextualization and Theology." Our author believes that, "The type of theology needed for Asian evangelicals is biblical and dogmatic rather than purely situational and existential'' (p. 84). He concludes that "From all indications, an appropriately contextualized theology, one that treats fairly God's Word and the particular context, has yet to appear" (p. 188). Probably the weakest part of the book is the last chapter in which he outlines "The Beginnings of an Asian Evangelical Theology." Although he cites a number of Asian evangelicals on the basic Christian doctrines, the discussion unfortunately does not reflect any distinctively Asian perspectives.

Despite its weaknesses, this book is a useful tool for beginning students of theology in Asia. The main purpose of the author was to challenge the students to think theologically and to do it contextually, so their theology will reflect Asian viewpoints. This purpose he has indeed accomplished.

Douglas Elwood is International Director with Little Children of the World, Inc., a ministry to children of the poor. He taught theology and ethics in Asia for thirty years under the Presbyterian Global Mission, in both the Philippines and Taiwan.
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Author:Elwood, Douglas
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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