Globalizing Theology

Belief and Practice in an Era of World Christianity

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Named an Outstanding Mission Book of 2006, International Bulletin of Missionary Research
"Moves beyond a mere evaluation and observation of globalization to provide constructive trajectories for theological discourse in the contemporary global context. . . . Recommended to anyone engaged in the theological process."--David Bradnick, Religious Studies Review


It is no secret that globalization is one of the most powerful forces in the twenty-first century. In nearly every realm--political, economic, cultural, ethnic, and religious--traditional boundaries are disappearing and people worldwide are more interconnected than ever. Recent decades have also seen the globalization of Christianity and the accompanying shift in the center of gravity of Christianity from the West to the southern hemisphere and Asia. As these realities take deeper root, scholars, students, and church leaders must grapple with the implications for theological reflection and method, not to mention missiological practice.

It is to this set of vital and complex issues that the contributors to Globalizing Theology address themselves in this collection of original and groundbreaking essays. Contributors include M. Daniel Carroll R., Lois McKinney Douglas, Paul G. Hiebert, Eloise Hiebert Meneses, James E. Plueddemann, Robert J. Priest, Vinoth Ramachandra, Steve Strauss, David K. Strong and Cynthia A. Strong, Tite Tienou, Charles E. Van Engen, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Andrew F. Walls, and Darrell L. Whiteman. A foreword by Wilbert R. Shenk is also included.

This international and internationally recognized group of scholars brings a multidisciplinary approach to the questions involved, including not only theological and missiological perspectives but also insights from history, sociology, ecclesiology, and anthropology. Part one examines the challenges for theology brought about by globalization. Part two focuses on methodological issues. Part three examines the implications of a global theology on various practical issues. Here is a vital text for courses in theology, missions, and cultural studies. 


"I hope this important volume is widely--and carefully--studied. It addresses a crucial need for the contemporary Christian movement: a globalized theology for a globalized church. The writers take us to new levels of exploration of what the gospel of Jesus Christ means for the multicultural, multiethnic, multinational community of the Lamb."--Richard J. Mouw, president and professor of Christian philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

"This is a truly exciting book for missiologists and a challenge for theologians of all sorts--pastors, teachers, or students. It is full of fresh thinking that is worthy of the mind and spirit of Paul Hiebert, in whose honor these essays were written."--Stephen B. Bevans, SVD, Louis J. Luzbatek, SVD, Professor of Mission and Culture, Catholic Theological Union

"What a privilege it is to be living in an era when God's promise to Abraham, that he would bring blessing to all peoples and nations, is being so remarkably fulfilled in the phenomenal growth of the global church. And for such a time as this--the global church engaged in global mission among all cultures--we need the kind of global thinking that fills this book. These are rich resources for that urgent task."--Christopher J. H. Wright, international director, Langham Partnership International

"Some of the sharpest minds in the church have been gathered to discuss some of the most sensitive issues facing the church today. The result is an extremely helpful guide. A fitting tribute indeed to Paul G. Hiebert, the great Christian statesman this book honors."--Ajith Fernando, national director, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka

The Authors

  1. Craig Ott

    Craig Ott

    Craig Ott (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of mission and intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he occupies the ReachGlobal Chair of Mission and directs the PhD in intercultural...

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  2. Harold A. Netland

    Harold A. Netland

    Harold A. Netland (PhD, Claremont Graduate University) is professor of philosophy of religion and intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he also directs the PhD in intercultural studies program. He is the author or coauthor of...

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Named an Outstanding Mission Book of 2006, International Bulletin of Missionary Research

"The concept of globalization takes on a particularly significant and expressive role when coupled with a term like theology. This work of tempered historiography and historical missiology approaches the questions, attitudes, concerns, and methods of the present generation of Evangelicals within the framework of scholarly discourse. . . . Each part contains distinctive contributions to the field of missiology and probes both the broad and the specific areas of inquiry in various contexts. There is a continued focus on the dynamic connection between 'global' and 'local' awareness and action. . . . This well-crafted book will be useful in theological schools with an interest in missiological discussions; recommended."--Anthony J. Elia, Library Journal

"Professors will likely adopt Globalizing Theology as a text. Yet it would be a shame for the ideas here to be relegated only to the classroom. This volume is a declaration of interdependence. Read it thoughtfully, whatever your station in the church. You just might discover what it means to be 'brothers and sisters with one and a half billion others who profess a similar faith.'"--Dave Broucek, Christianity Today

"Globalizing Theology moves beyond a mere evaluation and observation of globalization to provide constructive trajectories for theological discourse in the contemporary global context. . . . The contributors interact with a diverse range of academic disciplines including anthropology, economics, politics, history, missiology, sociology, and epistemology, displaying the course of theological reflection as a mediatory task between the various fields of study. . . . This book is recommended to anyone engaged in the theological process."--David Bradnick, Religious Studies Review

"The questions raised in this book are important questions. . . . The strength of the book . . . is in presenting theologians worldwide with the inescapable challenge to include the questions of localization and globalization in their theological work, and to come up with their own solutions. A recommended book!"--H. M. van den Bosch, Homiletic

"The book gives us a valuable example of theological and missiological reflection in a new global arena. . . . [It] ends with a superb bibliography and a helpful index. . . . Broader-scoped chapters are balanced by more narrow-focused ones. . . . Footnotes contain information jewels."--William D. Taylor, Evangelical Missions Quarterly

"[A] forward-looking book. . . . The chapters are of varying style, but most are of high quality."--Kirsteen Kim, International Bulletin of Missionary Research

"Our knowledge of globalizing theology is critical because we continue to take students to the majority world on short term missions, and we invite them to be agents of the kingdom of God in their own context. . . . There should be lively days ahead if theologians around the world engage one another as proposed by this book."--Ron Marrs, Journal of Youth Ministry

"This collection . . . will certainly help both missiologists and systematic theologians to exchange rather than to remain aloof from one another. . . . Students of systematic theology must read this work. . . . Instructors could easily use a particular paper for a class discussion or reading assignment."--J. C. Whytock, Haddington House Journal

"None of the contributors write in ivory-tower isolation but out of experience. Some express hard but not unfair critique of the continuing tendency towards theological hegemony by Northern America (and Europe) in the globalizing world. It is much appreciated that the essays refer to each other, which encourages further reading. The book illustrates that theology is supposed to be an ongoing process in which Christian communities throughout the whole world participate. . . . The contributors have rich cross-cultural experience. This volume is . . . unique in its richness of relevant insights, thoughts, critique, reflections and practical contributions concerning theology in a globalizing world. It is an essential book for everyone involved or interested in any theological work, anywhere, today."--Sabine Muri, Transformation