Gospel and culture : accommodation or tension? : an enquiry into the priorities of the Gospel in the light of Jamaica's historico-cultural experience vis-à-vis Western Christian civilization
In this thesis we enquire into the essence and mission of Christianity in the light of the Jamaican historico-cultural experience. Chapter one is devoted to a partial investigation into the nature of Western Christianity vis-a-vis Western Civilization - the modern dilemma, its historical beginnings and development, its response to philosophical ideas and other cultural positions, Church-State relations, its divisions, and its social attitude. We next identify the major elements in the Jamaican experience as revealed in the impact of the Spanish conquest on the original Arawak population, the enslavement of African Peoples, and the post-slavery repercussions vis-a-vis Western Christianity. In order better to understand the New Testament Gospel we locate its origin in the Old Testament examining its relationship with the Law and Temple, Priesthood and Prophets, observing its social implications, and we follow it en route to the New Testament. In chapter four we engage in a brief examination of the Hellenistic cultural environment including the Jewish Diaspora, in order to have a grasp of the initial interaction between Gospel and Culture. Our concern in chapter five is to recover the essence of Jesus' proclamation of the Gospel as witnessed to in the Synoptics. From this go on to examine its transmission to the wider Hellenistic milieu, concentrating on the Pauline and Johannine presentations. Finally it is argued that the Gospel in its transmission across cultures should be proclaimed, as far as possible, without cultural accretions; that the prevailing categories and symbols understood within the indigenous Jamaican culture be appreciated and, where possible, appropriated for purposes of communication; and, fundamentally, that in all circumstances the Church should faithfully guarantee a synchronization between its message and action, and Jesus' Gospel of the Kingdom of God, described in terms of Good News to the Poor.