Glo-[b/c]-alization and Mission[s]: Reading John’s Gospel

Posted: January 21, 2014 in General

JohnsonThe following are some of the questions I posed during the 20th Center for Mission Studies (CMS) consultation that was held at the Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India, from 8th till 10th January 2014.

[In a world in which a growing sense of integration and convergence is obvious, the scripture has to be interpreted from an entirely different point of view.[1] The contemporary globalizing culture[2] fosters liquid social functionalism and trans-nationalism in a higher proportion.[3] As Christian theologians of the contemporary world, how do we prioritize the gospel message? When describing the genre of the gospels, Richard Burridge (1998: 113) considers them as documents “about People, by People, for People”. With insights from this important caption of Burridge, we here attempt to explore the gnomic significance of the Fourth Gospel. The present paper attempts to answer the following questions: Does John’s Gospel bridge the gap between the ‘local’ and the ‘global’? How does John attempt to present his theology with a gnomic intent? How does the Trinitarian theology of John contribute to the contemporary missional aspects? Does John contribute something significant to the contextual realities of the postmodern world? And how does John’s theology function at the micro-, meso-, and macro-levels of his narrative framework? Analyzing the entire gospel verse-by-verse is not the concern of this paper. Rather we will consider three important aspects seriously: first, the ‘global’ aspects of the gospel in relation to the ‘local’ concerns; second, the Trinitarian nature of John’s theology and its significance in a glocalized cultural context; and third, the mission theology of John in relation to a globalized cosmic order. The task of the paper is not analyzing the gospel as a whole. Rather to develop an interpretative frame for the gospel in a globalized social context.

The original script contains 16 (A4 size) pages.

End Notes:

[1] The word used to capture this new phase is ‘globalization’. Cf. Neil J. Ormerod and Shane Clifton, 2009: 3.

[2] Malcolm Walters (1995; quoted in Araujo, 2003: 230; cf. Steger, 2013: 1-145) defines “Globalization as a concept refers to both the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole . . . both concrete global interdependence and consciousness of the global whole”. In this context, Marshall McLuhan’s (1960: 97) idea of “the global village” is significant to consider with.

[3] Refer to George Ritzer, 2010; Emmet Russell, 1963/1987: 1069-1070; Steger, 2013: 1-145.]

By Johnson Thomaskutty, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India

  1. Franklin Samraj says:

    Johns Gospel is magnificent and majestic both in comprehension and contextualization.

  2. Yes, the mimetic nature of the gospel is more suitable for contextualization as well as universalization. At the same time, the mimetic aspect is fused with the historical aspects.

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