Cover illustration Faith Seeking Effectiveness: The Missionary Theology of José Míguez Bonino

Faith Seeking Effectiveness: The Missionary Theology of José Míguez Bonino / Paul John Davies - [S.l.] : [s.n.], 2006 - Doctoral thesis Utrecht University


This dissertation argues that the theology of José Míguez Bonino is a praxis driven missionary theology. It is, as with every other theology, contextual—written from the perspective of the context, and is deeply affected by its context. Míguez Bonino's theological methodology begins with missionary praxis and aims at a more effective missionary praxis. Obedient involvement in mission leads to a sociological analysis of both the context of mission and the place of the church in that context. The issues raised by this analysis are taken up in a biblical and theological reflection. This leads to a new and living rereading of the gospel in the light of the new context. Finally, the biblical and theological reflection suggests new and more effective pathways for missionary obedience. José Míguez Bonino defines the kingdom of God as 'the sovereign action of God over the world (natural and historical in its unity and totality), especially and representatively exercised and attested to in Israel, perfected in Jesus Christ and promised in full manifestation in the parousia of Jesus Christ' and declares that the role of Christian theology is to discover how we 'can understand the active and dynamic presence of God's kingdom in our history so that we can adapt our witness and activity to it, particularly at this concrete moment in Latin America when we must profess our faith and serve the Lord.' His emphasis is that the kingdom of God is God's action in history and how human action relates to divine action. In José Míguez Bonino's ecclesiology, the church is the community who is gathered around Jesus Christ. However, Jesus Christ is the one who identifies himself with the poor. Therefore, the poor constitute the locus of the church. Jesus Christ re-launches God's creation project and incorporates humanity into that project through faith. Christ as the true human being. The new humanity in Christ therefore becomes the representative of the universal new humanity when it witnesses 'to God's saving activity in Jesus Christ, that means when it makes clear that God renewed the authorization, commandment, and liberation to humanity to be human, for humanity to create its own history and culture, to love and to transform the world, to claim and exercise the glorious freedom of the children of God.' Míguez Bonino understanding of the Trinity in relation to mission has its context in the theological reductionism of much of Latin American Protestantism. He believes that the Trinity as a hermeneutical criterion will enable Latin American theology overcome these reductionisms. It widens the understanding of salvation to include the action of the entire Trinity: creation as well as covenant. He also sees 'mission' as the material principle of Latin American unity. All Latin American Protestantism has its roots in 'mission'. Mission, defined in christological and trinitarian perspective gives Latin American Protestantism the possibility to go beyond traditional divisions. Finally the study considers the challenge of Míguez Bonino's missionary theology in the context of the global Church-in-mission and to the Latin American missionary movement.

keywords: Míguez Bonino, Missiology, Mission, Theology, Latin, America, Liberation, Hermeneutics, Church

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