Engaging with Asian Christian Theology through Literature
While working as a Langham Scholar, Author and editor Aldrin Peñamora became aware of Langham’s Literature program as many of his fellow scholars from the Philippines were published through them, and he hoped to also contribute to and be published by them after finishing his PhD in Christian Ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary, California, USA.
Aldrin notes two things of particular significance that stand out to him about Langham Literature.
“First is the emphasis of Langham Literature on Biblically sound doctrine; second, it’s the focus it has on publishing literature that is relevant for the Majority World,” he shared.
Biblically sound doctrine
Aldrin says that the texts and resources that are produced and published by Langham Literature, help to build and inform the global church about theology in different contexts.
Aldrin has been a contributor to a number of Langham Literature projects including Asian Christian Theology and All Things New. The process for both books involved the contribution of a chapter and liaising with the editors who in turn were “very generous with their advice”.
Aldrin says for his chapter in Asian Christian Theology, that he was asked to write on the topic of Public Theology.
He explains this as “describing an understanding of the ‘public’ from the Roman perspective in the time of Jesus, I then presented a biblical understanding of the public based on the ‘Cleansing of the Temple’ incident where Jesus was restoring the public area of the temple so it could serve God’s purposes for such public space”.
For his contribution to All Things New, he wrote about “an understanding of eschatology centred on the already-but-not-yet aspect of God’s Kingdom, which has important implications for our holistic involvement in current situations—and to not simply wait passively for Jesus’ Second Coming- that affects Christians and the wider society”.
Deepening the understanding of Asian Christian Ethics
The Asian Christian Ethics book was a project that Aldrin was pleased to stand behind as he doesn’t believe Ethics is given its proper place in theological departments. He also found that books and essays on the subject, particularly in his context, were very minimal and scattered.
“The book, therefore, is an excellent step toward introducing and helping deepen the understanding of Asian churches around the globe covering distinct ethical issues in Asia and how Asian theologians are grappling with or understanding theology and Biblical ethical reflections about such issues. Definitely, the spiritual and intellectual resources of the global church as a whole are needed in biblically addressing ethical concerns that perpetuate and lead to abject poverty and oppression that are prevalent in many Asian regions,” Aldrin shares.
Aldrin says that writing his essay contribution for this book, allowed him to gain a deeper understanding of how virtue ethics is viewed from the Confucian and Gandhian perspectives. He notes that overall Asia is rich in resources that will help to deepen Christian ethics and theology and hopes that Asian Christians like himself, will continue to look at their cultural roots when undertaking theological reflections.
The Faith and Bayan project
The book Faith and Bayan is a book about evangelical Christian engagement in the Philippine context that came to life as a response to extrajudicial killings of Filipino people who were allegedly involved with illegal drugs.
Speaking about the project, Aldrin shares, “It was an honour and I give all glory to God for this project and to have formed this group during a dark period that our country was going through.”
Aldrin hopes the book will serve as a Biblical protest against the killings, and also become a guide for future generations of evangelical Christians to prevent history from repeating in a similar manner. The contributors had regular webinars to discuss the content in the book and each contributor gave a presentation to assist them with developing their ideas and thinking deeply about their topics.
Aldrin is extremely thankful to each of the contributors, editors and co-editors that he worked with on each publication, especially those who had the courage to write on topics that are controversial in their region.Tags: Asia, Langham Literature, Langham Scholars, Philippines