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MLK Drum Major for Justice Scholars Program


Contextual Theology as a Theological Imperative

However one decides about the relationship between Christ and culture, one thing is abundantly clear: the Gospel, and therefore the church is always enculturated or embedded in a particular culture. This statement is based on the theological conviction that maintains that the importance of physical, embodied existence and the goodness of the created order.


It is also simply true from a historical perspective. One consequence of this reality of cultural embeddedness is that theology – all theology – is contextual in nature. It is shaped by concrete assumptions, convictions, joys, and concerns of a particular people in particular places at particular times.


This resource explains why the contextual nature of theology is both inevitable and a theological imperative.


As you read, consider the following questions:

  • How is contextual theology both new and traditional?

  • What are the external factors that require theology to be contextual? What are the internal factors?

  • Thinking about your own church context, what are some of the "actual contexts" in which men and women experience God? What would it mean for you to take those contexts seriously as you think theologically and articulate the Gospel?

Click here to download the article, Steven B. Bevans, "Contextual Theology as a Theological Imperative".

Source: Steven B. Bevans, "Contextual Theology as a Theological Imperative" in Models of Contextual Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2013), 1–10.


*** Estimated time to complete learning activity: 30 minutes ***

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