Thursday, January 10, 2008

C.H. Wright on Tennent's "Theology in the Context of World Christianity"

Given the respect with which I hold Christopher Wright, I thought it'd be helpful to reproduce in full his long endorsement for Timothy Tennent's new book, Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think About and Discuss Theology.
This is the book we have waited a long time for. We have all sampled selections from the growing menu of theological reflection in the Majority World church, but so often these have been viewed by scholars and students in the West as the theological equivalent of ethnic restaurants--exotic and interesting but not to be taken too seriously in the dining hall of real (Western) theology. Meanwhile Philip Jenkins, Andrew Walls, Lamin Sanneh, and others have thrust the staggering realities of Majority World Christians into the forefront of Western Christian consciousness. Theologians are now at last grappling with what missiologists have been saying for years: theology is a cross-cultural team game with global players. And the referee is no longer the Western academy, but the Scriptures themselves.

Tim Tennent engages all his experience in mission and theology to argue that it is not just the outer forms of Christianity that are culturally translatable, but theology itself. No part of the global body of Christ can say to any other part, "I have no need for you." Every part is enriched--theologically too--by every other part. Theology, like mission, has to be "from everywhere to everywhere." This book, organized in the systematic way that Western theology likes, offers teacher and student alike a representative, thorough, constructively critical compendium of some of the key contributors to the task of global theology. The point is not whether we will like everything we read here, but whether we are willing to listen. These are the voices we must increasingly engage with in the global conversation of Christian theology.

--Rev. Dr. Christopher J.H. Wright, international director, Langham Partnership International