Thursday 26th May 2016

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For more than a millennium and a half Christian Theology has been mediated through the languages, cultures, philosophies and worldviews of Europe and North America, what we have broadly come to regard as the West. Leaving the confines of 1st Century Palestine, various doctrines developed to communicate truth about the nature of God, the nature and destiny of human beings, and the goal of creation in general, in intelligible ways throughout successive empires. Unfortunately, much of the thinking about the mystery of God who is viewed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reflects the thought patterns and experiences of the western elite. This has meant that the experiences, languages, cultures, philosophies and worldviews of oppressed peoples have had little bearing on classical Christian doctrines.

Third World theologians, those writing out of Asia, Oceania, Africa and the indigenous peoples of the Americas, have contested this trend. And while classical Christian doctrines have largely concentrated on the Father and the Son, much has yet to be said of the Spirit, who continually resists systemisation. This paper argues that the unique experience of the African Caribbean have challenged grey areas in Christian doctrine, bringing fresh insights to how scripture and Christian thought are to be interpreted in those areas.

Three areas are briefly explored: The role and person of the Holy Spirit; Miracles and works of power, and sin. Ultimately, insights learned from African Caribbean religious traditions, strengthened in the furnace of the plantation society, help us to gain deeper insights into both Scripture and Christian doctrine.