The Gospel in the Western Context

A Missiological Reading of Christology in Dialogue with Hendrikus Berkhof and Colin Gunton

Series:

In The Gospel in the Western Context, Gert-Jan Roest focuses on discerning a Western contextual gospel, an endeavour that is very relevant to the current state of Christianity in the postmodern and post-Christendom West. After giving an in-depth analysis and synthesis of how Hendrikus Berkhof and Colin Gunton read the Western context and contextualize their Christology, he develops a gospel-centred model for reading the context. Meanwhile, he makes a creative and much-needed attempt to connect the two disciplines of systematic theology and missiology and convincingly shows that both disciplines cannot only enrich one another but also can give church practitioners insight and wisdom for their tasks.
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Biographical Note

Gert-Jan Roest, Ph.D. (2016), Free University Amsterdam, is part-time teacher of missiology at the Theological University Kampen, The Netherlands. For fifteen years he worked as a church-planter and evangelist in Amsterdam.

Table of contents

Preface

Introduction
 1 Can the West be Converted? A Personal Challenge
 2 Can the West be Converted? A Theological Challenge
 3 Theology Contextualized
 4 The Western Context
 5 Systematic Theology
 6 Contextualized Christology
 7 Hendrikus Berkhof and Colin Gunton
 8 Research Question
 9 Methodology
 10 Relevance
 11 Outline

Part 1: Hendrikus Berkhof


1 Introduction to Hendrikus Berkhof
 1.1 The First Period: Till 1950. The Impact of the Second World War
 1.2 Second Period: 1950–1965. The Rebuilding of Dutch Society
 1.3 Third Period: 1965–1985. The Challenge of an A-theistic and Secular Climate

2 The Method with Which Berkhof Reads the Western Context
 2.1 Introduction: The Importance of Reading the Context
 2.2 Discern the Questions, Answers, and ‘Lebensgefühl’ in the Context
 2.3 Discern ‘The Spirit of the Age’ within the Church
 2.4 Discern in Light of the Gospel
 2.5 Respond Dialectically, Embracing Tension and Crisis
 2.6 Respond with Contextualized Theology

3 The Content of Berkhof’s Reading of the Western Context
 3.1 The Deep Structure of Berkhof’s Theology and the Divided Worldview of Modernity
 3.2 ‘World’ in a Climate of Revolution and Evolution
 3.3 The ‘Human Being’ in a Climate of Existentialism and Anthropocentrism
 3.4 ‘God’ in a Climate of Empiricism and Functionalism
 3.5 Other Themes?

4 The Method with Which Berkhof Approaches Christology
 4.1 Christology: ‘From Behind,’ ‘From Below,’ ‘From Above,’ and ‘From Before’
 4.2 Christology: A Method Shaped by the Triple-Star System

5 The Content of Berkhof’s Christology
 5.1 Jesus Christ: The New Human Covenant Partner
 5.2 Jesus Christ: Bringer of Salvation in History
 5.3 Jesus Christ: The Son of God
 5.4 Christology and the Contextual Triad

6 Evaluation of Berkhof
 6.1 The Methodology of Reading the Western Context
 6.2 The Content of Reading the Western Context
 6.3 The Methodology of Christology
 6.4 The Content of Christology

Part 2: Colin Gunton


7 Introduction to Colin Gunton
 7.1 The First Period: 1962–1977. Christological Controversies in a Secularizing World
 7.2 The Second Period: 1977–1995. Diverse Challenges to the Method of Theology
 7.3 The Third Period: 1995–2003. Renaissance of Trinitarian Theology

8 The Method with Which Gunton Reads the Western Context
 8.1 Introduction: An Analogy of Gunton’s Approach to Theology
 8.2 Discern the Context by Expressing and Justifying the Gospel
 8.3 Discern with a Theological Reading
 8.4 Discern with a Dialectical Reading
 8.5 Discern with an Awareness of the Impact of Idolatry on Human Perception

9 The Content of Gunton’s Reading of the Western Context
 9.1 The Deep Structure of Gunton’s Theology and the Immanence of Modernity
 9.2 Paradoxical Features of Modernity (I): Rationality
 9.3 Paradoxical Features of Modernity (II): Time
 9.4 Paradoxical Features of Modernity (III): Freedom
 9.5 Paradoxical Features of Modernity (IV): Human Community
 9.6 The Fragmentation of Modern Culture and the Lack of Relational Ontology

10 The Method with Which Gunton Approaches Christology
 10.1 The Gospel and Methodology in Christology
 10.2 A Theological Reading and Methodology in Christology
 10.3 A Dialectical Reading and Methodology in Christology
 10.4 Idolatry And Methodology in Christology (I): Dualism
 10.5 Idolatry and Methodology in Christology (II): A False Time-frame
 10.6 Idolatry and Methodology in Christology (III): Overstressing Human Power
 10.7 Idolatry and Methodology in Christology (IV): Plurality Without Unity
 10.8 The Fragmentation of Modern Culture and Christology’s Lack of Cosmic Context

11 The Content of Gunton’s Christology
 11.1 Jesus Christ: Lord of Creation and Creature, God and Man
 11.2 Jesus Christ: The Revelation of God’s Eternal Love in Time
 11.3 Jesus Christ: God’s Saving Love and Self-giving in Action
 11.4 Jesus Christ: Second Person of the Trinitarian Communion Become Flesh
 11.5 Jesus Christ: Perichoresis and Sacrifice

12 Evaluation of Gunton
 12.1 The Methodology of Reading the Western Context
 12.2 The Content of Reading the Western Context
 12.3 The Methodology of Christology
 12.4 The Content of Christology

Part 3: Contours of a Western Gospel at the Beginning of the 21st Century


13 The Gospel as Star-theme
 13.1 The Mystery of the Gospel
 13.2 The Unity and Diversity of the Gospel

14 A Methodology for Reading the Context
 14.1 Learning about Contextualization from the Third World Church
 14.2 A Missional Hermeneutic
 14.3 A Gospel-centered Model for Reading the Context
 14.4 From Gospel to Context and Back

15 The Content of Reading the Western Context
 15.1 The ‘Age of Authenticity’
 15.2 The Lens of Worship, Salvation, and (Crucified) Life-style
 15.3 A Dialogue with Berkhof and Gunton

16 Contours of a Western Gospel
 16.1 A Gospel-narrative in the Western Context
 16.2 A Gospel-salvation in the Western Context
 16.3 A Gospel-frame in the Western Context
 16.4 A Confession of Jesus Christ from the Western Context

Bibliography
Index

Readership

Scholars and students interested in the theology of Hendrikus Berkhof and Colin Gunton, and those concerned with the missiological task of contextualizing the gospel in the Western context.

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