How do we contextualize Gospel in Nepali context? Is there a way? Is there any methodology to contextualize? What are the dangers involved in contextualization of the gospel? What is the role of the church, missions and theological academia in contextualizing the gospel? What is Nepal Christian theology? Will this help the church to communicate the gospel to the pluralistic society of Nepal in a more winsome manner? What are the roles of a believer, teacher, and a pastor in contextualizing the Gospel? Is there any set paradigm/s to contextualize the Gospel?
Nepal Ebenezer Bible College is conducting an academic forum to discuss the above pertinent questions. On September 12th 2014, at NEBC, Jorpati between 9:00 Am-4:00 Pm, there will an academic forum. The following are the titles and the presenters who has kindly accepted our invitation to present the papers.
1. Towards Nepal Christian Theology: A Proposal Yeshwanth. B. V, Dean of Academics, NEBC
2. Reading John’s Gospel in Nepali Context Dr. Johnson Thomaskutty, Facutly, UBS, Pune
3. Nepal Christian Theology
Missional perspective Ps. Norbu Tamang, part-time faculty, NEBC
4. Theological Development in Nepali Context
Historical Perspective Rev. Ram Kumar Budhathoki, Principal, NEBC
5. Nepal Christian Theology
A Shared Task of the Church & Academia Ps. David Rai, Part-time faculty, NEBC
6. Contours of Nepal Christian Theology
A Discussion Dr. Johnson Thomaskutty
If you are interested to attend this forum, please kindly contact us.
Mobile no: 9851150278
Reflection on Overseas Council International’s Consultation on “Unconventional methods in Theological Education in Southeast Asia.”
The consultation was held in Sri Lanka between August 6th to 9th. The consultation was indeed a time of retrospection and introspection on the current theological educational methods that were being used in the respective Bible colleges in Southeast Asia. Theological institutions from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Lebanon, Taiwan, and Bangladesh participated in this consultation. The meeting was indeed an eye-opener towards the different methods of education employed by these institutions.
The watchword of this consultation is ‘CHANGE.’ The basic questions of the consultation are as follows:
1. What is ‘Change?’
2. Why do we need ‘Change’? Is it necessary to ‘Change’?
3. Is ‘Change’ applicable only to theological education or to organizational and administrative levels?
4. What do we mean by being ‘unconventional’ in theological education?
5. What is the difference between output and an outcome?
6. Do theological institutes hear the needs of the church?
7. Are we focusing on all the age groups for theological education?
The discussions and paper presentations focused on the above outlined questions. At the end of the consultation, each college was asked to write an action-plan for the innovation. It was really an amazing experience to see as an institution about our own progress and also the extent of the impact we made on the church and the society. It was also a great time of learning experience from other colleges regarding the methods that are employed–which are different from from others.
The most interesting talk was on “Responding to Change” presented by Mr. Rupen Das. He basically outlined how one can respond well to the change in spite of the anxiety and fear that is packaged with the change. He also talked about the parameters that are needed to evaluate the results in our institutions.
One of my concerns in the consultation which did not get much attention was the demerits of contextualizing theological education in Southeast Asian context. One of the demerits I see is that the potential to overtly contextualize theological education so that it becomes parochial. How to avoid such tendency? If our methods make theological education too provincial, then I am afraid that at global theological circles we may not have our voice. This is what I call the flip-side of ‘unconventional methods’ in Theological education.
The following are my provisional suggestions to the questions raised above. Firstly, we need to have a strong, relevant methodology to do theology in Southeast Asia I would suggest a ‘contextualization method that is biblically based.’ How do we do this? Is it reading the context into the text? No, not at all. The method should be based on ‘grammatico-historical’ exegetical approach–by which you would understand the text in its own historical and literary contexts. Secondly, application to one’s own context. How do we do this? Once we determine intended meaning of the author to the orginal readers, then we need to apply the same by way of doing a social analysis of one’s own context.
How might insights into theological education in my particular context bring a challenge to the rest of the world?’– I would suggest that there should be a ‘dialogical movement’ between the western methods and eastern method in theological education. The reason is both west and east have been mutually influencing.
While thinking of the ‘unconventional ways’ of teaching we also have to think how these unconventional ways might contribute to the world at large. This is where we need to struggle–a struggle for methods that take into consideration of both western and eastern methods according to the context. If our unconventional methods are only to develop contextual education that is suitable only to that particular context then we are actually isolating or insulating our theological education from growing and contributing to the world at large.There is more to it. May be we need to discuss more ‘how’ to do this as we have discussed on ‘what’ is unconventional methods in our theological education.
The consultation was ended with the holy communion which was very enriching and empowering as we departed only to be together in contributing to the theological education in Southeast Asia.
Nepal Ebenezer Bible College is organizing an academic forum to be held on 12th September 2014 between 9:00 Am- 4:00 Pm at Nepal Ebenezer Bible College, Jorpati. The theme for this year’s academic forum is “Nepal Christian Theology.”
The purpose of the academic forum is to engage in scholarly discussion and to reflect on the action–plan on different theological, spiritual and social issues in order to meaningfully communicate the Gospel to the pluralistic society of Nepal and also to contribute to the maturity of the Nepali Church.