Christianity, Empire and the Spirit

(Re)Configuring Faith and the Cultural


In Christianity, Empire and The Spirit, Néstor Medina uncovers the cultural processes that play a crucial role in influencing how people understand reality, express the Christian faith, and think about God. He uses decolonial thinking, Latina/o theology, and Pentecostal theology to show how the cultural dimension is a central feature in the biblical text; was the force that coopted Christianity from the imperial era of Constantine onwards; and undergirded Western European colonialism and the missionary project. He engages with Protestant and Catholic articulations on “culture” and demonstrates how most theologians perpetuate Eurocentric frames for considering the relation between Christianity and the cultural dimension. Alternatively, he offers a theological proposal that recognizes the Spirit at work in the phenomena of cultures.

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Néstor Medina, PhD. (2008), St. Michael’s College, is sessional lecturer at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto. He has published many articles and book chapters on Latina/o theology and culture including Mestizaje: (Re)Mapping “Race,” Culture, and Faith in Latina/o Catholicism (Orbis, 2009).
The Problem with “Culture”
The Cultural
The Chapters

1. Toward a Broad Description of the Cultural
Social Dimension of the Cultural
Contested Nature of Cultural Traditions
The Dynamic between Cultures
The Dynamic Character of Cultures
The Breadth of the Cultural
Religion (Christianity) as a Cultural Element
The Cultural and Theology
Concluding Comments

2. Culture in Early Christianity
The Bible as Cultural Document
The Early Christians and the Cultural

3. The Cultural on the Other Side of the Imperial Mirror
The Emergence of “Western Europe”
Constructing Knowledge Systems about the Rest of the World
Western European Imperialism: A Cultural Project

4. The Cultural, Missions, and Mainline Protestants Theologians
Protestant Missions and Evangelization as Extension of Empire
(Re)Connecting Christianity and Culture (the Cultural) among Protestants
Reestablishing the Connections

5. Richard Niebuhr and the Enduring Debate
Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture
Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture Reformulated?
Bridging the Debates on the Cultural

6. Reviving the Debates on Christ and Culture in Contemporary Protestantism
The WCC and the Rethinking of Gospel and Culture
Rethinking the Role of the Cultural in the Christian Faith

7. Inculturation, the Catholic Church and the Cultures of the World
Evangelization and Assimilation
Geopolitical Shifts and the Cultures of the World
The Culturalization of the Church: Evangelization, and Inculturation
Gospel and the Cultural: Theological Implications

8. Understanding the Cultural Pneumatologically
Culture as Starting Point and Base for Our Reflection
The (Inter)Cultural and Divine Revelation
Final Remarks


Scholars interested in tracing the debates on the relation between theology and culture, contextual, liberation, Latina/o, and pentecostal theologies. Anyone doing related interdisciplinary work and decolonial thinking on these themes.
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