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Jayeel Cornelio and Ia Marañon

Megachurches, which are among the fastest-growing religious organizations in the Philippines, have been apolitical towards Duterte’s war on drugs. In contrast to some influential religious groups, that they have not released any statement is glaring. At the same time, megachurches have adopted interventions that aim at the rehabilitation of drug-dependent individuals and the moral renewal of police officers. What accounts for these actions? For megachurch pastors, the war on drugs is a ‘righteous intervention’ on the part of a God-ordained administration. At the same time, addressing the proliferation of illegal drugs is ‘humanly impossible’. Thus responding to substance abuse can only be a spiritual matter. The task of the church is to treat it as a spiritual condition to which the answer is conversion and moral recovery. The article ends with a critical reflection on how these theological views ultimately reflect the interests of the class these megachurches represent.

John N. C. Robinson

This article seeks to examine the nature and role of the use of non-Christian philosophy in the formulation of Christian theology specifically in relation to soteriology. The role and limitations of Greco-Roman theology in the traditional formulations are examined along with their reception in today’s global Church. The question of the use of philosophy originating in other religious discourses and its legitimacy is considered and then a soteriological proposal based on the philosophy of Nāgārjuna is advanced as an example of the approach proposed.

David Muthukumar Sivasubramanian

Abstract

Universal salvation (apokatastasis), once considered as an anathema, has recently gained a lot of currency in theological reflections. This paper will attempt to explore the possibilities for such a universal restitution of all creation using Irenaeus’ conception of the double mission of the Son and the Spirit in relation to creation as “the two hands with which God creates and perfects.” Toward this purpose, it will try to address the inherent limitations within the traditional notion of conceiving Christ as the Redeemer and the Spirit as the Sanctifier that has often resulted in a binary understanding of the role of Christ as “objective” and that of the Spirit as “subjective.” It will argue for a complementary understanding of the “twin mission” through a dialectical-chiastic pattern that will balance the subjective-objective and particular-universal aspects of the Logos and the Ruach.

Clarifying the Eclipse

Ascetics, Politics, and the Poetics of Power in Post-Roman Iberia

David Ungvary

Abstract

This essay examines a literary exchange between the Visigothic poet-king Sisebut (612-621 AD) and his scholar-bishop Isidore of Seville following an anomalous sequence of eclipses. After Sisebut commissioned a scientific treatise from Isidore on such natural phenomena, he responded to the bishop’s prose with a short poem on lunar eclipses (De eclipsi lunae). This study interprets the exchange of texts not as a literary game, but as high-stakes political correspondence. It situates the king’s verses in an ongoing process of cultural construction in Visigothic Spain, led prominently by Isidore himself, but also tied to a rising ascetic movement. It argues that Sisebut was attuned to Isidore’s designs to manage the discourses through which Christian power was proclaimed, and shows how the king attempted to versify in accord with scientific truth so as to fit within Isidore’s ascetic intellectual program.

David Ngong

Abstract

This article argues that Emmanuel Katongole’s theology focuses on contesting conversions in African Christianity. To him, conversions that have so far taken place in much of African Christianity, especially those informed by the theology of inculturation, have not adequately emphasized the formation of critical Christian social imagination that would challenge the violent politics of the postcolonial nation-state in Africa. The article engages Katongole’s theology by showing how his understanding of conversion aligns him with a form of African Christianity which he criticizes – the neo-Pentecostal and Charismatic variety of African Christianity. It critiques Katongole’s proposal by suggesting that the social and political transformation he seeks may be enhanced by forms of conversion rooted in the theology of inculturation which he minimizes.

Steve Taylor

Abstract

This essay analyzes Christian witness, applying a post-colonial lens to Drusilla Modjeska’s The Mountain to account for conversion and transformation in Papua New Guinea. A hapkas (half-caste) Christology of indigenous agency, communal transformation and hybridity is examined in dialogue with New Testament themes of genealogy, redemption as gift and Jesus as the new Adam. Jesus as “good man true” is placed in critical dialogue with masculine identity tropes in Melanesian anthropology. Jesus as ancestor gift of Canaanite descent is located in relation to scholarship that respects indigenous cultures as Old Testament and post-colonial theologies of revelation which affirm cultural hybridity and indigenous innovation in conversion across cultures. This hapkas Christology demonstrates how a received message of Christian mission is transformed in a crossing of cultures.