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Gospel and Culture in the World Council of Churches and the Lausanne Movement with Particular Focus on the Period 1973-1996
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Church and Mission studies.
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is an investigation of the discussion on gospel and culture in the World Council of Churches and the Lausanne movement with particular attention to the period 1973-1996. In order to understand the discussion, eight analytic questions were used: (1) Why did gospel and culture become an important issue? (2) How were the term “gospel” and (3) the term “culture” understood? What was the understanding of: (4) the interaction between gospel and culture, (5) historical gospel transposition processes, (6) cultural identity, (7) the role and approaches of missionaries, and (8) the perceived limits to syncretism?

The study argues that the debate appeared as a result of decolonization and an assertion of cultural selfhood of churches in the South. Both the WCC and the Lausanne movement adjusted constructively to this new situation and developed new approaches to cultural pluralism. The “gospel” was gradually extended in both movements to include social and ecological aspects. The full equality of all cultures was emphasised, and there was an understanding that cultures are ambiguous, containing both good and destructive elements.

There were also differences between the movements. Two examples are: (1) The WCC focused on evaluating historical transposition processes and issues of cultural identity, while the Lausanne movement developed strategies for “unreached peoples”; (2) The WCC stressed the approach “Christian presence” and “social activism”, while the Lausanne movement stressed church planting and cultural identification of missionaries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Mission Research , 2006. , 382 p.
Studia Missionalia Svecana, ISSN 1404-9503 ; 103
Keyword [en]
Missionary studies, contextualization, culture, cultural identity, Culture and religion-Congresses, ecumenism, Evangelicalism, gospel and culture, inculturation, Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, syncretism, World Council of Churches-World mission and evangelism
Keyword [sv]
National Category
History of Religions
Research subject
Studies of Missions
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7177ISBN: 91-85424-97-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-7177DiVA: diva2:168967
Public defence
2006-10-27, Ihresalen, Hus 21, Tunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2006-09-28 Created: 2006-09-28 Last updated: 2011-10-13Bibliographically approved

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