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.
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.
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.
Studies on mission and migration have often focused on the propagation of Christianity from a home context to a foreign context. This is true of studies of Christian mission by Catholics and Protestants, but also true in the growing discussion of “reverse mission” whereby diasporic African and Korean missionaries evangelize the “heathen” lands of Europe and North America. This article proposes the alternative term “return mission” in which Christians from the diaspora return to evangelize the lands of their ancestral origins. It uses the case study of Jonathan Chao (Zhao Tian’en 趙天恩), a return missionary who traveled in and out of China from 1978 until near his death in 2004 and is considered an instrumental figure in the revival of Calvinism in China. This article suggests that “return mission” provides a new means to understand the subjects of mission and migration, and raises new challenges to questions about paternalism and independency.