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Ellenberger, John David 1996 The Impact of Damal World View on the Formation of a Local Theology in Irian Jaya, Doctor of Missiology, Fuller Theological Seminary.
    © John David Ellenberger, 1996. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.


Missiologists are increasingly aware of the importance of understanding the world view of a people group in order to communicate the gospel message and be involved in the contextualization of Christian faith.

This study analyzes the deep level values and assumptions that impacted the choices the Damal made in changing from their traditional religion to follow Christ. Conversely, it analyzes the transforming impact of the Biblical message on the world view of the Damal in a continuing process that is, in fact, the formation of a Damal theology. It asserts that cultural dissonance occurs in the disjuncture between biblical values and traditional values which signals the need for contextualization.

An integrated model is used to analyze eight Damal world view assumptions (themes) in terms of three dimensions and six universal categories. Contextualization of theology by the Damal is evaluated in terms of three models: a) "transculturation," a double faithfulness to source and receptor; b) a "bipolar model," which emphasizes the continuous word in a particular context; c) "critical contextualization," which gives a Bible and church-based methodology for dealing with traditional practices. An examination of twenty-one contextualization decisions by the Damal church indicates the value of power encounter, the centrality of prayer as a base for ritual, the dynamic of Damal solutions, the reality of failed contextualization, and the central role of Bible translation.

The study concludes that an adequate understanding of world view themes is essential to communication and missionary involvement. Such an understanding results in recognizing areas in life and belief which need theological reflection and contextualization.


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