More Information
ISBN: 9781783687381
Imprint: Langham Monographs
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 16
Publication Date: 14/11/2019
Pages: 302
Language: English

Cultural Integration and the Gospel in Vietnamese Mission Theology

A Paradigm Shift


Postcolonial Vietnam has an urgent need for contextualized theology of mission, God, Christ, and the church that is rooted in indigenous cultural traditions and the dual Vietnamese spirit of resistance and assimilation. Dr KimSon Nguyen navigates the religio-cultural dimensions of Vietnamese spirituality and Daoism that have hindered the assimilation of the Christian faith in the Vietnamese context and explores a fresh approach to missiology in Vietnam.

Dr Nguyen draws upon his deep knowledge of Vietnamese evangelical history to analyze contextualization and mission theology in Vietnam. He proposes an evangelical theology of God as Ðạo (way / 道), the centrality of the Vietnamese home as the “house of the Lord,” and ancestor veneration as a theological framework for an indigenous theology of the family. Narrowing the gap between culturally removed evangelical missionary practice and widespread syncretistic spirituality in Vietnam, Nguyen calls for a paradigm shift in Vietnamese mission theology that is both robustly evangelical and authentically Vietnamese.

Author Bios


KimSon Nguyen has done all Vietnamese, not just Vietnamese Christians, a great service in explaining how the history of early Protestantism shows the struggles that took place as Christianity sought for a home in Vietnamese soil. Much of this history is difficult to read. However, this fascinating study goes further in suggesting ways forward as Christianity develops more and more as a Vietnamese religion, encompassing all of life and culture. It is a great story – it is a Vietnamese story.

Scott W. Sunquist, PhD
Professor of Missiology, President, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA

Radically evangelical, thoroughly contextual, deeply missional, and theologically and biblically syncretistic! How? Prior generations of evangelical scholars would never have been described in this way, but KimSon Nguyen represents the vanguard of mission theologians in the twenty-first century. Read this book to be challenged for the sake of the mission of God in a pluralistic and postcolonial global world.

Amos Yong, PhD
Professor of Theology and Mission, Dean, School of Theology and the School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA

KimSon Nguyen relentlessly seeks to identify the unintended lopsidedness of Western evangelicalism planted in the East Asian context of Vietnam and offers tour-de-force proposals for an integrated mission theology that calls for serious reflection and correction. Its analysis of the religio-cultural dimensions of Vietnamese spirituality with its dual forces of “resisting and assimilating” is to be wrestled by all who care about mission in our global village in the twenty-first century.

Rev Linh H. Doan, PhD
President, Union University of CaliforniaSenior Pastor, Thanh Le Church, Anaheim, California, USA

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgements
  2. Abstract
  3. List of Abbreviations
  4. Introduction
    1. Problem Statement
    2. Significance of the Study
    3. Context and Key Definitions
    4. Limitations of the Study
    5. Outline and Methodology
  5. Chapter 1 East Asian Syncretistic Context
    1. Encountering Christianity
      1. Daoism
      2. Philosophical Daoism
    2. Religious Daoism
    3. Confucianism
      1. Heaven
      2. The “Way” of Man
      3. Encountering Buddhism
  6. Chapter 2 Contextualization in Christian Mission Theology
    1. “Outsider” View
      1. Communication
      2. Interpretation
      3. Syncretism
    2. Alternative Evangelical View
      1. Within Cultural Context
      2. God’s Intention
      3. Translatable Faith
    3. Chapters 1 and 2 Conclusion
  7. Chapter 3 Vietnamese Syncretistic Spirituality
    1. Popular Animist Beliefs
      1. Belief in the Twenty-Seven Spirits
      2. Ancestor Veneration
    2. Syncretistic Spirituality
      1. Encountering the Three Teachings
      2. Rationalizing the Essentials
      3. Belief in Heaven and Other Folk Beliefs
    3. Contextual Integrated Belief
      1. The Way of Heaven
      2. Unifying Spirituality
    4. Chapter Conclusion
  8. Chapter 4 Christian Missionary Movements in Vietnam
    1. Early Accounts of Christianity
    2. French Protestant Missions in Resurgence
    3. Protestant Evangelization
      1. From the Pioneering Stage to the National Church
      2. French Protestant Mission Initiative.
      3. Attitudes toward Vietnamese Socio-Cultural and Religious Contexts
    4. Chapter Conclusion
  9. Chapter 5 Christian Faith in Context
    1. A Catholic Attempt at Addressing the “Three Teachings”
    2. Protestant Missions in the Colonial Context
      1. Christian Mission and Colonization
      2. The Adjectives American and français
    3. “Foreign” Faith: An Issue of the Vietnamese Evangelicals
      1. “The Fourfold Gospel”
      2. Evangelism and Conversion: Tension with the Culture
      3. Fundamentalist Doctrines
    4. Chapter Conclusion
  10. Chapter 6 A Paradigm Shift Proposal for Vietnamese Mission Theology
    1. Mission Theological Principles
      1. Being Asian Evangelical
      2. Early Christian Assimilation Efforts
      3. Vietnamese Evangelical Mission Theology
    2. God in Our Midst: A Vietnamese Concept of God
      1. The Đạo
      2. The Supreme One
    3. God with Us: A Vietnamese Hermeneutic
      1. Jesus Christ: The Incarnate God
      2. The Church: The Center of God’s Purpose
    4. Chapter Conclusion
  11. Conclusion Theological Missiological Reflections
  12. Appendix Inculturation vs Contextualization
  13. Bibliography
  14. Index of Names
  15. Index of Subjects

Related Books

Related by Classification