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Indigenization Essay

2230 words - 9 pages


The mission of Christ on earth was to reconcile all people to God. The church continues this mission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”(Mk-16: 15). Christ entrusted this mission to His church and it is a universal mission. It assumes that the gospel must be taken to all people on earth irrespective of color, race and culture. Thus the church is multicultural. She should feel at home and accept the culture of any place or nation where she finds herself.
It is the process of indigenisation through which one can make the gospel natural and known to the particular culture and region by making the gospel relevant to them, as we shall see in definitions ...view middle of the document...

Bruce Nicholls says about this term that an earlier generation used the word indigenization, which meant relating the gospel to the traditional cultures of the people.
A precise definition of being indigenous was given by the Willingen Conference of the international missionary council in its discussion on the meaning of an indigenous church in 1952 as rooted in Christ and related to soil.
After reading and reflecting on above definitions we can concisely say that the term indigenization means the planting of the church through evangelistic efforts, which are native to the land, according to the local socio-economic and cultural context of the people.
The activity of indigenization is not of 21st century or of the recent centuries but it has been in the practice throughout the history of Christianity from its beginning, though this particular term was not specially used. It was indigenization who gave the freedom for the Greek translators of the Hebrew Old Testament (Septuagint) to take a word like  from the idolatrous world of polytheism and use it to describe the only Creator of heaven and earth, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was indigenization, which enabled first century Christian Jewish Gentiles, populated Antioch to cross a massive culture barrier and begin preaching to the Greeks. And it is the same process of indigenization, which allowed for the emerging churches of the world to wrestle with infusing traditional, cultural and social practices with new Christian meaning.
The terms like Indigenization, Enculturation and contextualization seem to be similar with indigenization but they have their own dimensions and areas. We already have seen the definition of indigenization. Now we will look at the concise definitions of inculturation, enculturation and contextualization in order to have a clear understanding of indigenization.

According to Pedro Arrupe, Inculturation is the incarnation of Christian life and of the Christian message in a particular context, in such a way that this experience not only finds expressions through elements proper to the culture in question, but becomes a principle that animates, directs and unifies the culture, transforming and remaking it so as to bring about “a new creation”.

Enculturation is the process that starts from the very birth of a person in which the cultural values, traditions and rules are passed on one generation to the other. Learning about communication, social-behavior, positive or negative values are all part of this same process.

The word “contextualization” is derived from the Latin word contextus, conveying the idea of “weaving together.” When an ideology from one culture is weaved seamlessly into another culture, contextualization has taken place. Daniel Sanchez defines the general concept of contextualization as “making concepts and methods relevant to a historical situation.”...

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