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Joseph Drexler-Dreis

Abstract

This essay develops a response to the historical situation of the North Atlantic world in general and the United States in particular through theological reflection. It offers an overview of some decolonial perspectives with which theologians can engage, and argues for a general perspective for a decolonial theology as a possible response to modern/colonial structures and relations of power, particularly in the United States. Decolonial theory holds together a set of critical perspectives that seek the end of the modern/colonial world-system and not merely a democratization of its benefits. A decolonial theology, it is argued, critiques how the confinement of knowledge to European traditions has closed possibilities for understanding historical encounters with divinity, and thus possibilities of critical reflection. A decolonial theology reflects critically on a historical situation in light of faith in a divine reality, the understanding of which is liberated from the monopoly of modern/colonial ways of knowing, in order to catalyze social transformation.

Derek C. Hatch

Five years have passed since the publication of the report from the second round of international ecumenical dialogues between the Baptist World Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. When this document—titled The Word of God in the Life of the Church—was released, readers recognised that it would demand ongoing reflection and engagement as part of its reception. This article describes how Baptists have received the report during this interval. To do so, the article will discuss printed journal articles, books, academic sessions, and ecclesial events where the report has appeared, been discussed, and critically engaged. The article also articulates several suggestions for cultivating further awareness and active engagement with the report by Baptists. It concludes with the hope that deeper Baptist reception of The Word of God in the Life of the Church will bolster mutual understanding between both communities.

Stefan Paas

In response to the ongoing secularization of the West, much missiological reflection on the church has turned to post-foundationalist, pragmatic and traditioned approaches culminating in a ‘counter-cultural’ model of the church. This model, developed most extensively in neo-Anabaptist contributions, is believed to contain rich promises for missionary ecclesiology in a post-Christendom age. In this article several traditions that have contributed to this approach are examined, with an emphasis on neo-Anabaptism – especially the works of Yoder and Hauerwas. A critical discussion of the model’s idealism and view of culture follows. Based on this analysis, the article discusses how the model of the counter-cultural church can contribute to Christian mission in the secularized societies of the West.

Gabrielle Thomas

This article investigates potential learning for the Church of England with regard to ‘mutual flourishing’. It begins by summarising the findings from recent research, which employs the principles of receptive ecumenism to explore women’s experiences of working in English churches. During this research, ‘mutual flourishing’ (as described in the ‘Five Guiding Principles’) was identified repeatedly, as an area of practice which is a ‘live’ wound in the life of the Church of England. The article moves on to discuss the theme of friendship in the theology of Thomas Aquinas, arguing that Thomas’s particular approach to friendship, if appropriated prudently, could contribute to healing the ‘wound’ identified during the research. The final phase moves on to suggest what it might mean in practice to appropriate Thomas’s theology of friendship in the life of the Church of England.