Theology without Borders

An Introduction to Global Conversations

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About

Everyone knows the nature of Christianity has changed and the church is growing rapidly outside the West. But there is no consensus as to what this means for doing theology. Must Western theology be exported? Should Westerners rethink their views of God and the Bible in the light of non-Western thinkers?

Theology without Borders argues that the current demographics of Christianity demand that theology becomes a comparative exercise in which different voices reflect their different settings and begin to learn from each other. It also describes the challenges such a project raises. This concise introduction provides an overview of an emerging global discussion in theology by modeling this discussion from two different perspectives. Combining the voices of a Western and a non-Western theologian, it integrates Western theological tradition with emerging global perspectives, exploring the major issues involved in rethinking theology in light of the explosion of world Christianity. The book envisions a constructive integration of traditional and postcolonial theologies and underlines the contributions from the Global South. It will be of interest to theology and missiology professors and students as well as church leaders and readers interested in the changing face of world Christianity.

Contents
1. Transoccidentalism and the Making of Global Theology
by Oscar García-Johnson
2. Doing Theology Out of a Western Heritage: Gains and Losses
by William A. Dyrness
3. The Role of Indigenous Traditions in the Context of Christian Theology
4. God, Creation, and the Human Community
5. Jesus Christ and the Good News for the World
6. The Church in Global Context
7. The Christian Hope: Eschatology in Global Perspective
Appendix: The Historical Traditions of the Church
Index


Endorsements

"The most important theological development in the latter twentieth century was the birth of contextual theologies reflecting various cultures, social conditions, and ways of experiencing the gospel. The great task of this century will be to promote a faithful dialogue among these theologies. The present book is a significant contribution, pointing and opening the way for this task."

Justo L. Gonzalez, author of A History of Christian Thought

"Theology without Borders demonstrates brilliantly how theologians' contexts shape both the form and content of their theologies. The book is an important contribution to discourse on the necessity of a cross-contextual mind-set for constructing theology in this era of global Christianity."

Victor I. Ezigbo, chair of biblical and theological studies, Bethel University

"Christianity has become global, but theological education in the United States often retains a focus that is almost entirely Western. Theology without Borders takes a different approach, contextualizing Western theological accomplishments, explaining the significance of theologies that are emerging elsewhere, and opening new space for cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration. This insightful volume exemplifies what theological education needs to become now that Christianity is a genuinely worldwide movement."

Douglas Jacobsen, author of Global Gospel: An Introduction to Christianity on Five Continents

"This cowritten volume is a valuable and catalytic resource for the pursuit and practice of a deeply faithful Christianity in a world of great cultural diversity."

Vincent Bacote, Wheaton College

"This inspiring text challenges Eurocentrism in theology and explores the contours of a global theology that is truly multicultural, transnational, and transcontinental. Written by two scholars from different cultural contexts, it offers a rich symphony of theological voices from the global South. Both beginners in theology and seasoned scholars will learn much from it."

Kwok Pui-lan, author of Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology

"Dyrness and García-Johnson's Theology without Borders steps beyond Western and non-Western paradigms and invites us to a genuinely global conversation where East, West, and South discuss theology together around the same table. The authors tell us why the conversation is necessary and model how it can and should be done. Essential reading for anyone studying and doing theology in the twenty-first century."

Gene L. Green, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College and Graduate School

"Theology without Borders makes a valuable contribution to a developing conversation about the status of Western theology after the demographic shifts that are changing the face of global Christianity. The authors invite theological educators to a heart-searching reflection about our entrenched ways of doing theology and helpfully point out the contribution that a theology indigenous to the global South can make."

Adonis Vidu, associate professor of theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary


The Authors

  1. William A. Dyrness

    William A. Dyrness

    William A. Dyrness (DTheol, University of Strasbourg; Doctorandus, Free University) is dean emeritus and professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and is the author of several books on global theology.

    Continue reading about William A. Dyrness

  2. Oscar García-Johnson

    Oscar García-Johnson

    Oscar García-Johnson (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is associate dean of the Center for the Study of Hispanic Church and Community at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he also serves as associate professor of theology and Latino/a...

    Continue reading about Oscar García-Johnson

Reviews

Named an Outstanding Mission Book of 2015, International Bulletin of Mission Research

"A welcome introduction to theology in global contexts. . . . Those who are yet to be convinced of the importance of non-Western Christianity in theological studies will be offered a masterly primer."

Alexander Chow,

Expository Times

"Offers a fresh vision and methodology towards a truly global theology. . . . Theology without Borders masterfully uncovers and untangles the complete impact of context upon Christianity, especially in Western theology. . . . The authors' insistence on and explanation of the inherently contextual nature of all theological reflection is most impressive. . . . Theology without Borders is essential for serious practitioners of Christian mission and theology. Bold and concise, this book succeeds by advancing the global conversation about theology."

Jayson Georges,

Missiology

"[This book] calls for rethinking theology in a global context. Such a call is timely, as world Christianity continues to experience the proliferation of non-Western, indigenous Christianity. . . . One thing that stands out in this book is the way Dyrness and García-Johnson drive home the point that if we are going to continue using the term global theology, it must represent a dialogical and culturally developed discipline and at the same time be global and local as well as intercultural. Moreover, this book is written by two scholars from two different cultural perspectives bringing their experience in multicultural ministry, praxis, and teaching. Hence, such a book becomes a practical and living example of conversation done with transoccidentalism for global theology. . . . This book contributes to the ongoing discourse of the future of world and/or global Christianity. For those interested in fostering theological relationships among the multiplicity of theological reflections constantly emerging in world Christianity today, this is a welcome introduction."

Chigemezi Nnadozie Wogu,

Ministry, International Journal for Pastors


Resources