Date of Submission
Prince, A. J. (2015). Contextualisation of the Gospel: Towards an evangelical approach in the light of Scripture and the church Fathers (Thesis, Australian Catholic University). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a9cc16cb0bac
This work is an attempt to extend and strengthen missiological method from an evangelical perspective in the area of contextualisation. My thesis is that a missiological methodology that is governed by Scripture, while also drawing from the church Fathers, the social sciences and practical theology, is not only consistent with the nature of evangelicalism but also consistent with the nature of missiology itself. The critical observation that the contextualisation debate has been predominantly driven by insights gained from the social sciences (particularly anthropology) and practical theology, with comparatively little insight drawn from Scripture or the writings of the church Fathers has informed this thesis. The investigation here challenges the imbalance of the relative contributions of these four disciplines for contextualisation and offers new ways of thinking about mission, with implications for future evangelical missiological praxis. My thesis is tested through an examination of contextualisation from missiological, biblical, and historical perspectives, seeking to identify and develop contextual principles that are consistent with the nature of evangelicalism. A survey of the literature on contextualisation reveals many contextual principles that have informed missiological praxis over since the word was first introduced into missiological vocabulary in 1972. A biblical examination of representative passages from the book of Acts of the early church engaged in contextualisation to both Jewish and Gentile audiences reveals various contextual principles which confirm, critique, or are unique to those identified in the literature. Following the establishment of the legitimacy of John Chrysostom informing the contextualisation debate, an examination of representative homilies of Chrysostom reveals contextual principles which confirm, critique, or are unique to those identified in the literature or in the study of Acts. The research’s conclusion is that an examination of contextualisation that draws from biblical studies, the church Fathers, the social sciences, and practical theology is consistent with the nature of the discipline of missiology from an evangelical perspective.
School of Theology
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Faculty of Theology and Philosophy