Development of local theology of the Chin (Zomi) of the Assemblies of God (AG) in Myanmar: a case study in contextualization

Ross, Denise (2016). Development of local theology of the Chin (Zomi) of the Assemblies of God (AG) in Myanmar: a case study in contextualization. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines the contextualization of Pentecostal theology, using the Chin (Zomi) of the Assemblies of God (AG) in Myanmar as a case-study. Harvey Cox’s hypothesis that Pentecostals have a propensity to connect with other cultures’ “primal spirituality” and mix with their practices is examined, which he claims has been conducive to Pentecostalism’s rapid global growth. Firstly, Christianity’s introduction to Burma is examined, including the Baptist missionaries who went to Chin state; the American AG missionaries who introduced Pentecostalism to other areas of Burma; the rise to independence of local leadership; the introduction of Pentecostalism to the Chin via locals and the subsequent renewal in Chin state. Three aspects of Chin ecclesiology are selected from Douglas Hayward’s measurement of contextualization: liturgy, songs and theology. These three aspects are investigated using ethnographic methods and the findings are analysed theologically to examine the Chin’s contextualization of theology to their local culture. Chin AG liturgy is analysed to consider the Chin’s relationship to the Trinity, considering its western and primal religious influences especially. Thirty popular Chin AG worship songs are analysed using song-text analysis for their relationship to the Trinity, primal influence and practices or experiences. The Chin’s propensity to syncretise their pneumatology is considered considering their primal religious background as Pentecostal converts. Theological discussion on syncretism and contextualization theory are used as a framework, which is examined for further application in other Pentecostal contexts. Alternative approaches are considered to address the issues surrounding the syncretism controversy in Pentecostalism. Retrospectively, I reflect on the development of my own theological framework in the course of this research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations


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