ISSN: 1522-5658

Volume 23 (2021)

From the
Desk of
the Editor

Looking Forward to the Next Twenty Years

Zachary B. Smith, General Editor
[ Editorial ]


Authentic Contextualization and Church Growth: The Case of Catholicism in Malawi 1889-2000

Chrispin Dambula, Fuller Graduate School of Intercultural Studies
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Ideology in Biology: Theism Meets Atheism in the Case of Abiogenesis

Marc Ruffinengo and Anthony Walsh, Boise State University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

& Opinions

On the Profit of Protestant Wives

Dennis Barone, University of Saint Joseph
[ Essay PDF ]

The Incompatibility of Christianity with Racism and Capitalism

Matt Kappadakunnel, El Segundo, California
[ Essay PDF ]

The American Church and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Johnny Payne, Orange Grove Center
[ Opinion PDF ]

Malawian culture was denunciated and demonized as irrational and unbiblical by the early Catholic missionaries from the West. However, this negative attitude toward Malawian culture largely succeeded in hindering Catholic expansion during its nascency in the country. In this paper, I argue that contextualization of the gospel can provide a fertile ground for proliferation of Christianity in any cross-cultural setting and that effective contextualization is expediated by local leaders. To buttress my argument, I mull over the history of Catholicism in Malawi from 1889 to 2000. Catholicism faced fierce resistance in Malawi during its inception but later surged exponentially to become the dominant force in terms of demographics in the country. I argue that the Roman Catholic Church surged in Malawi because the converts could appropriate Catholicism in a meaningful way to their culture. That is authentic contextualization. My main contribution in this paper is that Christian witness in a new setting is more effective when indigenous people are agents of contextualization.
Abiogenesis is the proposed process through which inanimate matter eventually led to life on earth. As a research area, the issue is certainly loaded with fodder for debate and philosophical and ideological disagreement about what life is and how it came to be. Dealing with the origin of life (OoL) obviously has the potential to tread into spiritual and religious grounds for both scientists interested in this area but also for the public at large when any debate about “where did we come from?” arises. However, it is not just the general public that struggles with balancing religious and spiritual explanations for how people came into being with scientific evidence. As we will show, there is a lively debate among OoL researchers about a similar set of scientific facts pointing to the intervention of a transcendent designer or such an idea being incompatible with science generally. Furthermore, we note that much of this debate is centered around the concepts of ontological and methodological materialism. While we make no claims about resolving or contributing meaningfully to the debate it is worth pointing out, especially to outside observers, that such a debate is in fact alive and well among OoL researchers. Thus, it is certainly possible for OoL researchers to view abiogenesis as an atheistic endeavor and many do. However, atheism is not a requirement to believe that abiogenesis played a role in the OoL as many scientists view such discoveries as a “mark of the Creator” as opposed to merely an idea that life must have come from inanimate matter.