Origin of Terms

So I started a new book called To Know and Love God by David Clark and edited by John Feinberg. The book is quite engaging and Clark demonstrates his meticulous mind through intricate details scattered through his book. In the latest chapter, Clark gives us a glimpse into a few popular words in the world and among Christians today.

CULTURE – “came into English from the German word Kultur in 1871 in the work of anthropologist E.B. Tylor. A classic notion of culture comes from Edward T. Hall…’the way of life of a people,…the sum of a learned behavior patterns, attitudes, and material things.”

GLOBALIZATION – “…a term borrowed from economics, specifically currency speculation. It came to prominence in theological circles beginning with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Don Browning first raised the idea in a 1986 speech…In ATS, globalization denotes a movement to encourage theologians in American seminaries to experience, reflect on, and do their teaching and research in light of the variety of human cultures.”

CONTEXTUALIZATION – “…is a feature of theology and mission done in light of globalization. The term arose in 1972 as a replacement for the word ‘indigenization’ in a report of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches (WCC). WCC people believed the word ‘indigenization has a colonial feel, implying too strongly that dominant Western countries should play a superior role in relation to other nations.”

I hope you enjoy this tidbit of historical information as I did.


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