The Gospel in the Filipino Context: José M. de Mesa and Melba P. Maggay

This paper describes and evaluates two Filipino contextual theologians—José de Mesa and Melba Maggay—and examines how have engaged their national culture from a Christian point of view. It uses Bevans’ models of contextual theology and demonstrates how societal, educational, and denominational background greatly impacts one’s understanding of the context and how one responds Christianly.



Andrea Roldan graduated from the University of the Philippines and worked as an architect prior to joining OMF as an Associate in 2005. She earned a BA (Hons) and an MA at All Nations Christian College in the UK and has been serving as International Facilitator for Serve Asia since 2010. She has also been serving as a member of the Lausanne Movement’s Younger Leaders Team and OMF’s Global Vision Council.




The Gospel in the Filipino Context: José M. de Mesa and Melba P. Maggay

Mission Round Table

Vol. 13 No.1 (Jan-Apr 2018): 24-30


“Three hundred and fifty years in a convent and fifty years of Hollywood,” is what is jokingly said of the Philippines. Since 1521, the country has been through three waves of Christian evangelization—the first two under the Spanish and the third through American occupation. Despite the nation’s long history of Christian influences and the fact that their homeland is widely considered to be the only Christian nation in Asia, Filipino believers continue to grapple with what it means to be Filipino and Christian.

An important aspect of evaluating where a people are at in terms of their Christian faith is their ability to self-theologize. For many Filipinos, the Greco-Roman form of Christianity is the only form known and their broken self-image, self-esteem, and identity due to colonial rule crippled efforts to produce indigenous and local theologies and expressions of faith. A valid and valuable question to ask is how far Filipinos have come in terms of theologizing against the backdrop of the effects of colonial rule in eroding their sense of pride and confidence in their own expressions of faith seeking understanding.

Stephen Bevans argues that there can be no such thing as “theology” and that there is only “contextual theology.” He states: “Doing theology contextually is not an option …. The contextualization of theology—the attempt to understand Christian faith in terms of a particular context—is really a theological imperative.”[1]

This paper looks at the existence of theology developed within the Philippine context by describing, comparing, and evaluating the work of two contextual theologians: José M. de Mesa, a Roman Catholic, and Melba Padilla Maggay, an evangelical. This study hopes to explore the ways in which these Filipino indigenous theologies exist and are developing and also to describe how they fit within the various contextual models categorized by Bevans.

The process by which this essay will develop is by first providing the background of each theologian. Theology develops in context and hence understanding the contexts that have informed both de Mesa and Maggay is key to describing and evaluating them as contextual theologians. This background will be followed by a description and comparison of how each theologian approaches theology in context. The final section of this paper will present an evaluation of both theologians in terms of their engagement with the Filipino context and religious consciousness.

This paper will not attempt an exhaustive evaluation of Maggay’s and de Mesa’s published works. Its aim is to be mostly descriptive and evaluative as it engages some of the ideas of both theologians. And while it acknowledges the need for Christians to engage with local culture in the wake of the current presidency in the Philippines, it does not include the contextual theologies that are emerging in the present societal and political climate.

Bevans’ models of contextual theology

According to Bevans, doing contextual theology takes into account two things: the past as recorded in Scripture and kept alive in tradition as well as the experience of the present. [2] The experiences of the present, or, in other words, context, include the experiences of a person or group, their culture, social location, and the reality of social change. This includes the understanding that no context is static. Based on the way theologians engage with the elements of Scripture, tradition, and context, Bevans brings to the table six models of contextual theology: countercultural, translation, synthetic, praxis, transcendental, and anthropological. Each model can be placed along a spectrum with the countercultural model being the most conservative in its recognition of the importance of context but radical in distrust of its “sanctity and revelational power” and the anthropological model, on the opposite end, being the most radical in terms of its emphasis on “cultural identity and its relevance for theology more than scripture or tradition.”[3] Practitioners of the praxis model will focus on social change as they articulate their faith, whilst those who prefer the synthetic model will “attempt the extremely difficult task of keeping all elements in perfect balance.”[4] The sixth and final model—the transcendental model—focuses on the subject who is articulating rather than on the content of what is being articulated.[5]

  Bevans’ Models in Models of Contextual Theology (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002), 32.


Two Filipino theologians: Two faith streams

Jose M. de Mesa

Approximately 85% of the Filipino population is Roman Catholic in terms of religious affiliation. Despite the constitutional separation between church and state, the Roman Catholic Church continues to enjoy a certain level of influence and power in the country. Though Roman Catholicism has, until the last century, been under the shadow of colonial rule, a growth in the number of local Filipino theologians and nationalistic efforts to
“Filipinize” Roman Catholicism has been observed.[6] This growth in indigenous theological reflection within the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines can be mostly attributed to the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). Vatican II underscored a commitment to the re-rooting of the Good News within specific socio-cultural contexts which resulted in regional affirmations globally.[7] In Asia, for example, the 1977 Asian Colloquium on Ministries noted that “Asian churches must become truly Asian in all things” and that “the principle of indigenization and inculturation is at the root” of the Asian churches coming into their own.[8]

Because the building up of the local church became a priority, local Catholic ministers, priests, and theologians began to emerge in the Philippines. One of these is José M. de Mesa. Though relatively unknown outside of the country, de Mesa is considered one of the most articulate and creative theologians produced in the Philippines.[9] The Roman Catholic Church backed its commitment to seeing indigenous churches grow by supporting many, including de Mesa, to pursue further theological studies. De Mesa obtained his PhD in Religious Studies from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. He specializes in Systematic Theology and teaches at the De La Salle University in the Philippines.[10] He is also member of the Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs and is on the advisory board of the Concilium Advisory Board for Liturgy and Sacraments based in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. De Mesa’s various publications, consultations, and lectures on inculturation have earned him national recognition.[11] As a married Catholic theologian, de Mesa has been subject to scrutiny by more conservative Catholic Filipinos who have labeled him as being liberal in theology and scholarship.[12]

Melba Padilla Maggay

Whereas, thanks to Vatican II, the halls of Europe’s universities and seminaries became the ground for the theological development of many Filipino Catholic priests and scholars, it was the streets and halls of the Philippine universities for Filipino evangelicals.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, the Philippines was under the rule of a dictator and the country was overshadowed by clouds of increasing poverty, debt, American influence, and communist insurgency. There was no choice, whether one was Catholic or Protestant, but to grapple with social realities. When it came to coming to terms with what was happening in the country, many—particularly the impressionable youth—determined the choice was between the Communist Manifesto and the gospel. Many from the evangelical community chose to separate the secular from the sacred. Others, especially those from the evangelical intelligentsia and the evangelical student movement, believed the solution was to think, feel deeply, and engage with Scripture in context. Enter the likes of Melba Padilla Maggay who, as a student at the left-leaning University of the Philippines, began to lead others into an exciting period of evangelical social and theological engagement.

One of the most respected evangelical thinkers in the Philippines and the majority world, in addition to being a writer and anthropologist, Maggay co-founded the Institute for Studies in Asian Culture (ISACC) to be an evangelical think tank. Maggay’s book, Transforming Society—perhaps considered her most influential work—has been translated into several different languages globally. She serves as president not just of ISACC but also of the Micah Network, an alliance of more than 600 development organizations around the world. Maggay is a member of the board of the Center for Community Transformation as well as of the International Council of Interserve. She also helped found two other institutes based in the Netherlands and Sweden that focus on social transformation. It is popularly said that Maggay dislikes being called a theologian, having perhaps in mind arm-chair theologians holed up in their academic offices with a narrow window to the world. She continues to be one of the few Filipino evangelical thinkers who exert a wide influence through her lectures, writing, and leadership.

Two Filipino theologians: Two faith models

José M. de Mesa

An evaluation of available work by Jose M. de Mesa shows breadth and creativity in terms of theological insight and depth. His emphasis on the importance of indigenous theological reflection, spurred and encouraged by Vatican II, is due to a conviction that this is indicative of, as well as an aid to, the indigenous presence and mission of the church.[13] De Mesa’s theological reflections and development, as Bevans notes, can be viewed as illustrative of a more liberal use of the synthetic model, gravitating towards both the anthropological and praxis models.[14]

In various publications such as “Doing Theology as Inculturation,” and “Tasks in the Inculturation of Theology,” de Mesa uses the word “inculturation” to describe the process of “making the Gospel meaningful and challenging within a specific cultural context.”[15] For de Mesa, the gospel is expressed in a particular culture and therefore it is not possible to extract its essence from its cultural expression and merely translate it.[16] Cultural embodiment is therefore intrinsic to gospel communication. In addition to gospel communication being dependent on context, de Mesa also sees that no one has a monopoly of the message and meaning of the gospel except in relation to the present situation. Moreover, the process of appropriating the message and meaning of the gospel is not merely a matter of applying to a given context or situation what is thought to be discovered within the biblical tradition.[17] Evident in de Mesa is a keen understanding of the essential role that culture and context play in gospel communication.

To encourage Filipinos to take up the resources of their culture and appropriate the message and meaning of the gospel, de Mesa emphasizes and encourages de-stigmatizing and re-valuing culture as necessary steps to the process of inculturation.[18] By taking a positive outlook on culture and focusing on inculturation, de Mesa exhibits a tendency to lean towards an anthropological model of contextual theology which, as Bevans notes, focuses on the value and goodness of the human person and emphasizes culture.[19] As de Mesa states, the methodological approach to inculturation “should emphasize the positive resources and potential of the culture to interpret and respond to the questions of contemporary society.”[20] He also discusses the importance of an appreciative awareness of each culture, calling strongly for the “retrieval (rediscovery and recovery) of the strengths and riches of the cultural wisdom and genius of a people” affected by colonialism and modernization.[21]

It is interesting to observe that though de Mesa uses an anthropological model to address the effects of colonialism and modernization of society, the principle of theologizing he endorses for the inculturation of the gospel is also very much synthetic. In both papers mentioned above, de Mesa sees the process of doing theology in context as a mutual interaction between two traditions of experience: the Judeo-Christian tradition (past) and contemporary (present) experience, with each being a source and target to each other. For de Mesa, theology can begin from either pole. In his view, this process isn’t so much that the Judeo-Christian tradition is merely translated or transplanted into contemporary culture or that contemporary culture creates its own faith tradition without reference to Jewish-Christian heritage. Rather, de Mesa sees an interplay between the two so that both serve as an “interpretative and critical guide to the other.”[22]

De Mesa does not stop at being synthetic. He sees that, ultimately, doing theology in context means that theologizing should take off from the issues, questions, and concerns of a given socio-cultural context. This makes his approach not only anthropological and synthetic but also praxis. De Mesa also believes that theology should be catalyzed by context and that theologizing should be done. As he states, “It is only in the actual doing of theology itself, which requires careful analysis of both culture and Tradition, especially Scripture, that better clarity and fuller understanding come, and this within the practice of the faith itself by the community.” [23]

The scheme de Mesa proposes develops in three stages, all of which reflect a dialectical relationship between anthropological, synthetic, and praxis models of contextual theology. The first stage is where context—its issues, questions, and concerns—serves as the indicator of what theology should be about. Meaningful theology, as such, is catalyzed by context. The second stage is characterized by the “respectful” and “critical” correlation of the context—which de Mesa terms as “cultural aspects”—with Judeo-Christian tradition. Relevant cultural aspects are used as interpretative elements to “discern and discover the riches of the Judeo-Christian Tradition in relation to context.”[24] The third stage involves the interaction between the two traditions of past and present and puts forward a “tentative” theological interpretation that addresses the initial issues that triggered the theological discourse in the first place. De Mesa uses the word “tentative” to reflect the character of theology as a continuous reflective process and in being non-absolute in its claims. This theological undertaking, de Mesa hopes, will ultimately impact the actual situation from which it arises.[25]

To summarize, de Mesa exhibits a sophisticated understanding of the dynamics of theology in context. He not only provides a model for the engagement of the traditions of the past and present, he also breaks this down into details and stages.[26] As Bevans notes, de Mesa’s work is “rich in scholarship, rich in creativity, and the work of a person who seeks sincerely to understand his faith.”[27]

De Mesa is considered one of the most articulate and creative theologians produced in the Philippines.


Melba Maggay

Compared to de Mesa, Maggay’s seminal works offer no systematic scheme for approaching theology in context. Her background as a social anthropologist informs her engagement with Scripture and society. In the introduction of Transforming Society, perhaps her most important contribution to integral mission, she writes: “I am not a theologian and I have no intention of being one.”[28]

Nevertheless, Maggay has been considered one of the most influential voices in the Filipino evangelical community. Unlike de Mesa who provides a systematic way of approaching theology in context, Maggay focuses directly on engaging the realities of Filipino society. Whilst maintaining a highly cognitive approach in her discussions, Maggay engages directly with context rather than working up from theory. In her work up to the late 1990s, rather than thinking through theological and hermeneutical complexities, Maggay jumps directly to praxis.

By directly engaging with, for example, issues concerning church and social action, Maggay demonstrates a leaning towards what Bevans articulates as the praxis model of contextual theology which is described as “a way of doing theology at its most intense level—the level of reflective action.”[29] In Transforming Society, Maggay sees that “the Word must take flesh” and that “the saving power of God needs to be made visible, otherwise it is only empty words.”[30] Throughout the rest of the book Maggay argues for the church to take upon itself the task of changing society. She engages with the dichotomization between evangelism and social action. She also addresses the role of the church in times of pressure, disorder, and injustice, and at the same time warns against making an idol of social concern.[31]

In her earlier work, Maggay also shares a particular concern for the communication of the gospel in the Filipino context. For Maggay, the gospel has yet to be communicated in a way that has truly wrestled with the Filipino people’s world view. In Gospel in Filipino Context, for example, Maggay states that because the Filipino thinks in concrete images, the gospel needs to be communicated through the use of parables and stories rather than general truths and propositions.[32] Whereas for the western mind ideas are communicated, for the Filipino mind what should be communicated are events. Secondly, though generally lacking within Philippine Protestantism more symbols and images should be used. The gospel also needs to be communicated in a way that builds on the network of relationships that comes naturally to Filipino culture rather than through western evangelistic efforts that are centered on “lectures, mass rallies, and media spectaculars.”[33] The outworking of a gospel communicated in the Filipino context will therefore need to take into consideration the reality of the person of Jesus Christ rather than the idea of him.

In some ways this way of engaging with Scripture and context leans more towards Bevans’ countercultural model in that Scripture serves as a corrective. Bevans notes that the practitioners of the countercultural model “recognize that if the gospel is to be adequately communicated, it has to be done ‘in the language of those to whom it is addressed and to be to be clothed in symbols which are meaningful to them’ and that ‘culture itself is not an evil.’” He adds that this model sees the necessity of analyzing and respecting context but allows for the gospel to take the lead in the process so that context is shaped and formed by the reality of the gospel and vice-versa.”[34] This is exactly what Maggay does in Gospel in the Filipino Context, Filipino Religious Consciousness, and her other essays up to the late 1990s.

In her more recent essays, Maggay has begun to look at cultural and context driven readings of Scripture in ways that she had not previously. In a short essay published in 1989 entitled “Reading, or How to Get the Seven Blind Men to See the Elephant,” Maggay began to explore the complexities of multiple readings of the same text.[35] Her approach, however, was mostly theoretical and seemed more like touching the surface of the role of context in hermeneutics. Using the same title in 2013, she published a more extensive study of the relationship between text and context, Scripture reading, engagement, and culture. In this recent contribution to the collection of essays entitled The Gospel in Culture, Maggay shares that while she was conducting a Bible Study amongst the Ifugao tribe in the mountains of Northern Philippines, one of the Ifugao women blurted out an out-of-the-box interpretation of the reason why the long-bleeding woman had trembled with fear. For her, a poor girl from the mountains, it was because she was afraid that Jesus would ask for a fee.

Maggay here begins to grapple more intentionally with how context reads into Scripture in a way that her earlier reflections did not. As such, her approach seems to have moved from the praxis and countercultural models of contextual theology towards a more synthetic model. Maggay sees “culture as the overall frame by which we view reality and conditions our reading of the text.”[36] She also states that “what we see, what we appropriate, and what we communicate are all conditioned by that complex of reflexes which have to do with our predispositions as shaped by our social location and conditioning.”[37] Hence, for Maggay, culture informs the reading and interpretation of Scripture. Moreover, perceptions as to the meaning of Scripture are culture bound. With regard to the question of defining what is “essential” and must always be present in terms of the communication of the gospel in any given culture as well as the question as to whether “essence” and “accidents” of culture can be separated, Maggay offers no answer.[38]

Unlike de Mesa, Maggay is not a systematic theologian. She looks at and wrestles with the realities of Filipino society and tries to find ways to reconcile her faith and Scripture. She uses the lenses of the disciplines of literature, communication theory, and anthropology, and her brilliant mind to serve as a prophetic voice within the evangelical Filipino community. And though she may refuse to be called a theologian, she demonstrates that she is one and a very good contextual one with the courage to engage with even the most educated and experienced.

Maggay has been considered one of the most influential voices in the Filipino evangelical community.


The gospel in the Filipino context: Two streams in convergence

Theology, as faith seeking understanding, does not arise in the abstract. It is born and developed in a concrete setting, culture and history. It is, therefore, culturally and historically relative.[39]
– Stephen B. Bevans

It is interesting to observe how two theologians engage with the same context. Both de Mesa and Maggay are products of the same generation within Philippine history. Their theological reflections have emerged in the midst of and in response to a singular context but have also emerged from and were shaped by two different faith communities and traditions that were collectively grappling with societal realities. As Bevans notes, theology is born and developed in a concrete setting, not only in the context of culture and history. Though de Mesa and Maggay may have come from the same historical, socio-political, and cultural context, their faith communities and affiliations serve as a context that sets the scene for divergence in theology, approach, and emphasis.

Adversity has a way of pushing Christians to think and feel deeply. Moreover, it is in the midst of suffering that the most profound theological reflections often emerge. The time under martial rule and the dictator Ferdinand Marcos shaped these two contextual theologians. Their religious affiliation in turn shaped the ways in which they engaged with the context.

The Catholic Church—as the majority religion in the country—has, throughout Filipino history, enjoyed a great deal of influence and power. Priests and leaders of the Catholic Church rested on cushions whilst other denominations struggled to find their identity, purpose, and voice. During the Marcos era, Cardinal Sin—the most visible representative of the Catholic Church—used his power with a “great deal of ambiguity,” wherein one moment he would upbraid government and then the next allow “his offices to be used as sacramental sanction to the activities of the state and the vaulting ambitions of its politicians.”[40]

The evangelical church in the Philippines, on the other hand—as the minority—has attempted to reconcile faith with social realities in two ways: either through solidarity—as embodied by the more radical groups—or by separation and capitulation—by those who struggled with modernism and the “social gospel.”[41] During the dark period under Marcos, evangelical students grappled not just with the realities of communism, poverty, and widespread social injustice but also with the reality of the influences of the Roman Catholic Church, western missionaries, and American Christianity.

Whereas de Mesa, supported by the Catholic Church and through the patronage of Vatican II, delved deeply into indigenous theological reflection from within European academic circles, Maggay’s thoughts were formed in the halls of the leftist university and the streets. The 70s and 80s shaped Maggay and encouraged her to lean more towards the praxis model. Consistent engagement with Scripture and evangelical scholarship, however, modified her approach so that it was centered on being countercultural. As noted by Bevans, the countercultural model realizes that some contexts are simply “antithetical to the gospel and need to be challenged by the gospel’s liberating and healing power.”[42] This is what Maggay embodied in her writing. She consistently challenged not just the political scene but also social realities and Filipino religious consciousness.

De Mesa, on the other hand, looked at context and though cognizant of the reality of poverty and injustice, called for transformation resulting from cultural positivism rather than focusing and highlighting the need for a prophetic voice that calls for a complete social upheaval. As a Roman Catholic, de Mesa could only work within the confines of his religious affiliation. To be countercultural would have meant shooting himself and his religious affiliation in the foot.

Instead, de Mesa sought to redeem Filipino Roman Catholic religious consciousness in spite of it being heavily impacted by its colonial past. Since Filipino society and religious consciousness is so deeply informed and influenced by Roman Catholicism, de Mesa cannot help but be more positivistic in his approach to Filipino culture and be redemptive and conciliatory in terms of Filipino religiosity and the Roman Catholic faith. Since he assumes that to be Filipino is to be Roman Catholic de Mesa finds no need to be a prophetic voice that is critical of the context. Instead, he approaches culture, context, and religious consciousness with a redemptive purpose. Maggay, on the other hand, is able to stand outside of the standard Filipino religious consciousness—framed and shaped by centuries of Spanish and Roman Catholic influence—and challenge it.

Based on these observations about how religious affiliation has informed Maggay’s and de Mesa’s theologies, it can be argued that Bevans’ statement about theology as being culturally and historically relative can be extended—it is also shaped by religious affiliation, identity, and consciousness. It can also be argued that theology in itself, and the context it emerges from, is also relative to power as evidenced by de Mesa and Maggay, with the former emerging from the majority and the latter from a minority in Philippine society.

Almost thirty years after the overthrow of Marcos, a series of coup d’etats, economic crises, and mini revolutions, the Philippines is finally coming to a level of stability it has not seen in a long time. Within the last ten years, without a singular demon—such as Marcos—to decry, and with the challenges of pluralism and an increasingly globalized and networked society, the evangelical church in the Philippines is being forced to think more deeply and theoretically about the relationship between Scripture and context.[43] Maggay, for example, with greater exposure to the complexities of hermeneutics and access to other more tooled theologians, is beginning to delve more into the details of cultural readings of Scripture.

Within evangelical circles, it is worth noting that competing theologies are not so much about models but orthodoxies. The struggle, at least within Filipino urban churches, is between the liberal and conservative, the reformed and non-reformed, and literal and non-literal interpretation. This reality is possibly due to the influence of American Christian theology.

In its contemporary state, one can see an increase in dialogue between the different faith streams in the Philippines. Globalization as well as greater political and economic stability have driven theologians to reflect deeper into technicalities of translation, context, and hermeneutical detail. As such, it can be argued that both the more liberal stream of Roman Catholicism, as represented by the likes of de Mesa, and the evangelical stream are coming to a stage of convergence in terms of their engagement with Scripture, tradition, and context.

Maggay is moving from being counter-cultural to becoming synthetic in her theology. Her access to and dialogue with other contextual theologians, including Rene Padilla and even de Mesa, is informing her discourse. While remaining synthetic, de Mesa—in the context that the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines is losing more of its political grip and influence, the renewal taking place within Roman Catholicism, and the growing influence of the charismatic and evangelical movements—is moving from anthropological and praxis leanings to a more countercultural model. In a paper published in 2002, he begins to question, for example, the “institutional imperial model of church.” He states that that it “developed into a huge over-arching institution so far reaching in its jurisdiction and control that it claimed to be a big ‘perfect society’ rather than a small imperfect church.”[44]

The question, therefore, arises as to whether theologians such as Maggay and de Mesa can simply be identified with one particular model of Bevan’s contextual theology or whether their theological reflections—depending on the particular issue or context engaged—are more fluid in adopting one kind of model in one situation and another model in a different situation. In other words, if theology is a dialectical process, do theologians develop in their theological methodology so that they epitomize one model at a given point in time and another at a later stage? Similarly, is it possible that all theologians might eventually become synthetic in their approaches to engaging with Scripture, tradition, and context?

Bevans argues that certain models function more adequately within certain sets of circumstances. What is important is that every theologian needs “to be aware of the range of methodological options available.”[45] Whether or not all theologians become synthetic over time is not a question that Bevans addresses. What is clear, however, is that for our contemporary, postmodern world, the synthetic model is the most powerful and creative model for contextual theologizing.[46]

As Bevans noted, there can be no such thing as theology per se; there can only be contextual theology.[47] Both Maggay and de Mesa demonstrate this to be so. Authentic expressions of faith seeking understanding cannot be separated from one’s context if it is at all to be transformative. Moreover, if theology is to be relevant at all, it needs to be meaningful within a given context. For the Philippines, one only hopes that in the same way that the 70s and 80s produced contextual theologians like Maggay and de Mesa, contemporary and post-modern theologians of similar stature will emerge in the future. Without contextual theologians emerging—in the sense of intentional theologizing engaging with and emerging from the Filipino context—what can be said of Filipino appropriations of the Christian faith will not find clear answers. Intentionality is key, whether it be from the Roman Catholic or Evangelical stream. The end result, we hope, is a continuously developing sense of convergence with regard to Filipino religious consciousness, identity, and societal transformation reflective of Filipino Christian faith and commitment.


[1] Stephen Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 2002), 3.

[2] Bevans refers to tradition as faith experiences that are kept alive, preserved, defended, and perhaps even neglected or suppressed in the past. Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 5.

[3] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 31.

[4] Ibid., 32.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Susan Russell, “Christianity in the Philippines,” (accessed 29 Jan 2018).

[7] José M. de Mesa, “Doing Theology as Inculturation in the Asian Context,” in New Directions in Mission and Evangelization, eds. James A. Scherer and Stephen B. Bevans (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1999), 118.

[8] De Mesa, “Doing Theology.”

[9] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 99.

[10] De La Salle University, “Dr. José De Mesa’s Online Publications,” University Library, (accessed 29 Jan 2018).

[11] Ibid.

[12] “Meet Dr. José de Mesa,” The Pinoy Catholic, (accessed 29 Jan 2018).

[13] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,” 119.

[14] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 99.

[15] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,” 117.

[16] José de Mesa, “Tasks in the Inculturation of Theology: The Filipino Catholic Situation,” Missiology 26, no.2 (April 1998):198.

[17] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,” 125.

[18] De Mesa, “Tasks in the Inculturation of Theology,” 195.

[19] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 55.

[20] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,” 126.

[21] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,” 126.

[22] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,” 121.

[23] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,”128.

[24] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,” 128.

[25] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,” 128–132.

[26] De Mesa, “Doing Theology,” 128–129.

[27] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 102.

[28] Maggay, Transforming Society, 11.

[29] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 70.

[30] Maggay, Transforming Society, 21.

[31] Maggay, Transforming Society, 43.

[32] Maggay, The Gospel in Filipino Context, 16–17.

[33] Maggay, The Gospel in Filipino Context, 19.

[34] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 119.

[35] Melba P. Maggay, “Reading, or How to Get the Seven Blind Men See the Elephant,” in Communicating Cross-Culturally: Toward a New Context for Missions in the Philippines, Melba P. Maggay, ed. (Quezon City: New Day, 1989), 15–20.

[36] Melba Padilla Maggay, “Reading, or How to Get the Seven Blind Men to See the Elephant,” in The Gospel in Culture, Melba Padilla Maggay, ed. (Metro Manila: OMF Literature and ISACC, 2013), 160.

[37] Maggay, “Reading, 159.

[38] Cf. Melba Padilla Maggay, Filipino Religious Consciousness: Some Implications to Missions (Quezon City: Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture, 1999), 9–10.

[39] De Mesa, “Doing Theology” 122.

[40] Maggay, Transforming Society, 38.

[41] Maggay, Transforming Society, 38–39.

[42] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 118.

[43] The current president and government in the Philippines, however, seems to be catalyzing a wave of biblical and theological discourse within the country not just within the halls of evangelical seminaries and think tanks but outside as well.

[44] José M. de Mesa, “Re-Rooting Mission in the Family,” Mission Studies 19, no.1 (2002): 137.

[45] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 139.

[46] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 93–95.

[47] Bevans, Models of Contextual Theology, 3.

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