Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Contextualizing the Gospel for Southeast Asian Buddhists: Recovering the Critical Themes of Kingdom and Covenant in Evangelism
by Mullis, Eric Christopher, Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2018, 366; 10975716
Abstract (Summary)

The thesis of this dissertation is that a dialogical approach to contextualization demonstrates that kingdom and covenant are critical themes for proclaiming the gospel in a Southeast Asian Buddhist context.

The introductory chapter explains basic background information regarding missions among Southeast Asian Buddhists. The thesis for the research is presented and explained. A basic outline for the organization of the research is presented with summaries of each of the six chapters. Basic definitions, limitations and assumptions regarding the research are also addressed.

Chapter 2, “Evangelism and Southeast Asian Buddhists: Contemporary Issues Affecting Gospel Transmission,” outlines four contemporary problems affecting gospel transmission from Western missionaries to Southeast Asian Buddhists. The chapter focuses on four reasons why the process of transmission and content (themes) of gospel presentations need to be evaluated. The four issues addressed are 1) the confusion surrounding the meaning of the gospel and theological problems surrounding current models of evangelism, 2) the problem of “cultural noise” in evangelism models, 3) the problem of an assumed Western framework in gospel transmission methods and contextualization models, and 4) the absence of the gospel themes of kingdom and covenant in practical evangelism models. The issues addressed in Chapter 2 seek to demonstrate that research is needed to explore new contextualization models as well as new gospel frameworks and presentations that are better contextualized to an Asian worldview.

Chapter 3, “Gospel Transmission Among Southeast Asian Buddhists: A Dialogical Contextualization Proposal,” recommends a dialogical methodology for contextualizing the gospel among Southeast Asian Buddhists. The dialogical proposal proposed is based on Jackson Wu’s dialogical contextualization process. The chapter begins by establishing a basic definition, rationale and objectives of contextualization. Next, a dialogical methodology for contextualization is proposed and explained. Specific attention is given to explaining the dialogical process that occurs between the contextualization catalyst and the five spheres of local culture/worldview, biblical culture(s), social sciences, Scripture, and systematic theology. It will be demonstrated that the dialogical methodology offers an advantageous process for contextualizing the gospel among Southeast Asian Buddhists.

Chapter 4, “Toward Contextualized Evangelism Frameworks for Southeast Asian Buddhists: A Dialogical Examination of the Roles of Kingdom and Covenant in the Gospel,” applies the dialogical contextualization methodology presented in chapter 3 to a Southeast Asian Buddhist context. The presentation of the methodology, in which the author serves as the contextualization catalyst, includes dialogue with each of the five contextualization spheres as related to the themes of kingdom and covenant in the gospel. The contextualization process demonstrates that within a Southeast Asian Buddhist context, the themes of kingdom and covenant are appropriate biblical themes for framing the gospel in evangelistic presentations.

Chapter 5, “The Benefits of a Kingdom and Covenant Framed Gospel for Evangelizing Southeast Asian Buddhists,” explores the primary advantages of a kingdom and covenant gospel framework for evangelizing Southeast Asian Buddhist peoples. The chapter begins with the application of a kingdom and covenant framed gospel to a Southeast Asian Thai Buddhist context, thereby providing an example for the reader to understand both practically how kingdom and covenant can frame the gospel, as well as have greater clarity on its advantages. It will be demonstrated that a kingdom and covenant gospel framework 1) establishes a multifaceted, culturally-meaningful apologetic for the gospel, 2) contributes to a culturally and theologically meaningful understanding of God, sin, salvation and heaven/hell in gospel presentations, 3) connects evangelism to the primary gospel implications of discipleship, church and mission, and 4) contributes to an advantageous hermeneutical framework for doing gospel-centered ministry in context.

Chapter 6, “Synopsis of Research Findings,” concludes the research findings with a summary of the thesis and outline of the dissertation. Implications of the research on missions among Southeast Asian Buddhist are explored as well as suggestions for further research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hammett, John S.
Commitee: Ashford, Bruce R., Quarles, Charles R., Wan, Enoch
School: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Department: Graduate Studies
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Theology
Keywords: Asia, Buddhism, Contextualization, Gospel, Honor/shame, Missiology
Publication Number: 10975716
ISBN: 978-0-438-63643-9
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