Monday, February 06, 2012

New Perspectives in Missiological Anthropology

I have not been reading theology books lately. I don't have any desire to read books about mission. Nowadays, I read books for entertainment or to get myself to sleep. So I guess, it is time for me to pick up a book and try to finish it. I'm reading Church and Cultures: New Perspectives in Missiological Anthropology written by Louis J. Luzbetak. He is formerly editor of the international journal Anthropos , studied cultural anthropology of the Universities of Fribourg and Vienna. He received his doctorate in anthropology from Fribourg. He has taught anthropology at the Catholic University of America and linguistic at Georgetown University. Church mission has always been the focal point of his teaching and research. He is at present in the service of the Pontifical Council for Culture Vatican City.

His theology and mission obviously comes from the Catholic perspective. Which is more of a strength rather than otherwise. It is evident that the Catholic Church has more experience and relatively more success than the evangelical mission endeavors.

Here is the summary of the chapters of the book from the preace:

Chapter 1 lays the theological foundation, for missiological anthropology. This explores the solid rock on which the application of anthropology to mission  must be based.

Chapter 2 describes in detail is meant by "Missiological Anthropology." He discusses in detail how missiology and anthropology blends. He further states that the scope and purpose of the book is missiological whereas the process and analysis is anthropological.

In chapter 3 he examines the failures and successes of the past.  He looks closely at the theory and the history when this theory is applied. At the same time, the theoretical presentation serves as a preview of the theory that is to come. It also serves to clarify some of the terminology that will be used in the chapters to follow.

He entitled chapter 4 as the "Signs of Times," looks at the present and the future of mission to see what challenges await missiological anthropology. It also provides the basic theological parameters within which present-day mission anthropology must be applied.

Chapter 5 examines the recent anthropological developments in regard to the concept of culture. IHe then formulates this knowledge into a working missiological model. In Chapter 6, he looks at culture as a system and in the next chapter, he examines the  the dynamic of culture. It should be noted that traditional accomodation generally passed over such important considerations; on the other hand, inculturation (incarnation, contextualization, "evangelization" of cultures--all synonymous) may not do so.  Chapters 5,6, and 7 are the heart of inculturational theory. Corresponding missiological application are made throughout these chapters as to illustrate the relevancy of the anthropological theory discussed. Chapter 8 is an epilogue. Here the anthropological theory of the early chapters is synthesized in the light of the nature and misson of the Church.

It looks like an excellent reading for those who are involved in mission.  Cross-cultural Christian workers have a lot to learn from this book specifically with regards to making the message of the gospel  clearer through understanding the target people culture.

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