Text and Context in Dialogue

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Towards a Nepali Theology

Welcome to the third issue of Voice of Bhakti in which we want to explore the issues surrounding the contextualisation of the gospel in Nepal. In the first issue we introduced the term bhakti (devotion) and explored its meaning in the traditional Hindu context of South Asia. The second issue focussed on the church in Nepal and ways which we use to understand it. In this issue we want to look at the process of developing a contextual theology in Nepal. This has to include a look at some other indigenous concepts that might be used as we try to convey the gospel of Christ to the peoples of Nepal in an appropriate way. Is it legitimate to use terms that may have some non-Christian connotation, such as the word om? That particular thorny word is dealt with in these pages by Swami Dayanand. Or may we use words for God, for instance, that Hindus use, knowing that they will not understand the word in the same way we might want them to? We also want to explore the issue of theological education. How should we teach theology to new believers or leaders? Do they need to learn theology at all? Indeed we want to look more thoroughly at the principle of indigeneity. What did it mean in the particular historical context out of which it emerged? How far does it go and can we go further? We are happy to include a review of Cindy Perry's A Biographical History of the Church in Nepal by Sue Allaby. Such studies are a tremendous help to us to see how issues such as these have been handled in the past. It is hoped that, in future, further studies of Nepal's church history will look in more detail at these doctrinal and cultural problems.

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bhakti. bhakti, nom. devotion, love, loyalty