Lamin Sanneh's translatability model as a proposed approach for doing theology in Singapore
Data do documento1994
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In spite of decolonization (1959) and the emergence of numerous local theologies in Asia, there are congregations in Singapore that have depended primarily on a form of Christianity which is alien to the Asian traditions which dominate the socio-cultural context . In recent years, the country 's legislation to maintain religious tolerance and harmony (1990) has raised new questions concerning the church and its mission in a multicultural society. The importance of a deliberate contextual approach of "doing" theology in Singapore is becoming very hard to deny.
This thesis explores Sanneh's notion of translatability and, after testing it, proposes it as a model for "doing" theology in Singapore . It is a powerful model which can clarify complex theological realities, help analyze and interpret history, and enhance various forms of contextual theology.
As an interpretive key, it opens a fresh understanding of Christian mission not as a surrogate of Western colonialism but as an authentic commitment to the new cultural context. It insists on the vernacular paradigm which vindicates the local cultural indigeneity. As a model, translatability emphasizes the imperative of expressing the gospel in the category and worldview of the local culture. It presents itself as a subversive alternative to a mode of mission which supports cultural diffusion . Consequently, it neither absolutizes nor stigmatizes any human culture. On the contrary, it relativizes the missionary-culture on the one hand, and, on the other, revitalizes the receptorculture. The translatability model promotes the position and attitude which reinforces the idea that no human culture is the universal exclusive norm. Thus it is a powerful model to be employed in a context of multiplicity of cultures, like Singapore.
By using Sanneh 's model of translatability, this thesis presents evidence showing the phenomenon of translating the gospel message, particularly in the vernacular-speaking churches. In a subversive way, the model calls into question any uncritical adoption of Western forms of Christianity. It also challenges the church to consider seriously and critically indigenous cultural criteria as resources to help clarify the message in the local context.