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Seeking the Asian Face of Jesus

The Practice and Theology of Christian Social Witness in Indonesia and India 1974-1996

Christopher Sugden

Regnum Books (1997), 496pp, ISBN: 1870345266

Not currently available to buy direct. Please contact us if you are interested in this title

This book is a detailed examination of contemporary Asian Christian praxis, and a real contribution to the discussion of context, identity and social engagement. Hitherto, a great deal of the discussion on context and identity has been awash in a floodtide of historical moralisation, cultural relativism and ideological axe-grinding, all of that resulting in a theological defensiveness. By contrast, Dr Sugden brings a sharp theological focus to bear on issues of context, identity and cultural particularity. He thus raises the whole level of social context and identity from the flatbed of ethnocentric value judgement to the high ground of global critical historical consciousness. Thus Vinay Samuel of India and Wayan Mastra of Indonesia are not just voices domesticated by their respective cultures, two forces dissipated in their own vacuum, but a dynamic impetus of the global theological current. The literature on contextual theology and situational ethics now has a standard to rise to.

Lamin Sanneh
D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity, Yale University

Chris Sugden's Seeking the Asian Face of Jesus is significant for several reasons. It is, first of all, a comparative study of two living Asian theologians and the impact which they have made on the world and on their own societies. Such studies are rare but that is all the more reason to Welcome this one. The author has chosen two theologians from widely differing cultures and socioeconomic contexts, yet who are united by the predominantly Hindu milieu in which they both work. Both have learnt from the Western Christian tradition but have also drunk deeply from their own wells. They are able to criticise the Western theological tradition for its individualism and, at the same time, call to account their own cultures for demeaning human identity and self-worth. Chris Sugden has put us in his debt for organising this very diverse material and making it accessible in a way that was not before. I, for one, am very grateful to him for this service.

Michael Nazir Ali
Bishop of Rochester

Chris Sugden is Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies


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