Indigenous theology--two attempts? : a study in the writings of Dr. Kosuke Koyama and Dr. Choan-Seng Song
Koria, Paulo Tema
The question of Indigenous Theology is not new. The relationship between gospel and culture which provides the basic parameters for the indigenization of theology is something with which the Early Church Fathers and even Paul and John have had to deal. Indigenous theology is therefore as old as Christianity itself. Yet in spite of its ancient beginning, the fact is that only since the missionary movement of the Western Churches during the turn of the century did it become a recognized theological subject of any real significance. Coupled with the fact that only in the last fifty years did many of the Younger Churches begin to realize the need for theological independence in order for the gospel to have a meaningful impact in their historical situations, it is no surprise that the question of gospel-culture relations (indigenization) has continued to demand the attention of many christians in the Third World. The appearance of the concept of 'contextualization' in the second half of this century is indicative of this continuing interest in the subject. The seemingly ready acceptance of this new theological approach has given a new twist to the "enduring problem" of gospel and culture. It has raised new issues and tended to compound questions regarding the meaning and validity of the old approach. It has incited what has come to be termed the indigenization-contextualization debate. This research study is an attempt to contribute to the ongoing discussion centred on gospel and culture as it is expressed in the concept of indigenous theology. Indigenous theology is a legitimate approach to the christian task of expressing God's love manifested in Jesus in ways, forms and modes of thought and meaning that are intelligible and relevant to the experience of people in a particular cultural setting. Its validity as a theological approach is rooted in the incarnation itself. It is particularized theology. That is, it seeks to utilize all the available resources in a given culture in order to give an adequate expression to the content of the faith. It also seeks to deal biblically and theologically with all kinds of issues which are in need of urgent treatment. As a focus for clarification of some of the issues relating to the validity and meaning of the concept of indigenous theology, an examination of the writings of Kosuke Koyama and C. S. Song is considered appropriate for two main reasons. First, Koyama and Song are two theologians at the forefront of Asian attempts to bridge the gap between theological expressions of the faith and Asian histories and cultures. Secondly, our reading of Koyama and Song has led us to believe that each one is indeed engaged in the business of constructing indigenous theology in Asia. Thus a study of their works may not only shed light on the nature and meaning of indigenous theology, it may also prove an enrichment to the life of the ecumenical christian community.
Advisor: Nichol, Frank
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Theology
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis