At every level of society today one hears the word ‘context’. But, what is a context? What does it mean to ‘have a context’? This level three course examines this concept, especially in terms of the relationship of the Christian faith to culture(s). What might it mean for the Christian gospel to be “local” while also “continuous” with the tradition? What implications might the cross-cultural transmission of the gospel have for church structures and institutions, creedal formulation, liturgy, doctrinal formulations and theological method? It surveys examples of contextualisation of the gospel through Christian history, before turning to the secondary reflection on this question as it arises in the mid-19th century. This steps through concepts like indigenisation, acculturation, enculturation, inculturation and contextualisation, and explores the different insights to the faith and culture question each approach brings. The course concludes with an examination of culture theory and intercultural hermeneutics and theology.

Unit code: DM3019P

Unit status: Archived (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Missiology

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Give a complex definition of ‘context’


Map forms of the gospel’s interaction with culture through Christian history


Categorise different theories for understanding the interaction between gospel and culture with a critical evaluation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each


Articulate the key theoretical lines of intercultural theology



Indicative Bibliography

  • Cartledge, Mark J., and David Cheetham, eds. Intercultural Theology: Approaches and Themes London: SCM Press, 2011.
  • Johnson, Elizabeth A. The Strength of Her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016.
  • Moreau, A. Scott. Contextualization in World Missions: Mapping and Assessing Evangelical Models. Kregel Publications, 2012.
  • Newlands, G. M. The Transformative Imagination: Rethinking Intercultural Theology. Aldershot, Hampshire, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004.
  • Orobator, Agbonkhianmeghe E. Theology Brewed in an African Pot. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008.
  • Rainbow Spirit Elders. Rainbow Spirit Theology: Toward an Australian Aboriginal Theology. ATF Press, 2007.
  • Schreiter, Robert J. The New Catholicity: Theology between the Global and the Local. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997.
  • Shorter, Aylward. Towards a Theology of Inculturation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1988.
  • Wrogemann, Henning. Intercultural Theology: Intercultural Hermeneutics. IVP Academic, 2016.
  • Yung, Hwa. Mangoes or Bananas? The Quest for an Authentic Asian Christian Theology. Oxford: Regnum International, 1997.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Glossary (2000 words)

2000 45.0

Glossary (2000 words)

4000 55.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 5 Sep, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2023-04-03 15:17:39 +1000