Christianity is a global and multicultural reality today. The diversity of practices and voices in the church worldwide are a gift that can help the church to become more broadly catholic (in the theological sense) and ecumenical as it brings together insights from varied social and cultural contexts. This should result in a church that is more faithful to its evangelical calling in presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ in particular contexts, and that is also more fervently charismatic, learning to discern where the Spirit is leading and how the Spirit is empowering the people of God in ever new situations.

The growth of theological reflection in the Southern Regions has led to the widely shared awareness that theology is always contextual. It is contextual because it is shaped by the Christian practices, cultural patterns, and social contexts in which it is developed. Indeed, it should be contextual, because we are called to discern how God relates to these different environments, how the message of Jesus is Good News in relation to various contextual challenges, and because we need to discern how the Spirit of Christ is working in both old and new ways.

Through new theological voices from the Majority World, it has become clearer than before that Western theologies are equally contextual: they have strongly focussed on challenges raised by Western modernity and more recently postmodernity. While these responses have sometimes been creative and constructive, at other times they have been fatally compromised. The emancipation of fresh theological voices allows for new opportunities to grow towards a ‘new catholicity’ in which different voices within the worldwide church help each of us to be faithful to our Christian callings and yet creatively and critically relevant in the particular contexts to which we are called.

There is growing awareness that the point of gravity of Christianity is moving to the majority world and that all Christian theology is contextually embedded. Yet, these insights are only gradually influencing the way we study theology and shape Christian practices and mission. Theological education and research is still largely shaped by western voices and western methods, not only in the North Atlantic world, but also in Africa and other southern continents. Theological voices from the South are often relegated to special courses in ‘contextual theology’, ‘intercultural theology’, or ‘African theology’ as if Western theology is contextless, and as if the way in which the Western context has shaped the dominant voices in theology is unproblematic. This is partly because understandings of what constitutes academic exegesis, proper systematic reflection, and appropriate practical theological research are still dominated by Western models. Another major limiting factor is that theological voices from the South are often still hard to find and access. Library catalogues, theological encyclopaedias, and online search tools are often dominated by western perspectives, and their contents selected according to Western academic criteria - even when voices from the South are included.

It is our vision that this website will make theological sources from the Global South more easily accessible by providing online bibliographies, bibliographical encyclopaedia articles, an Internet portal, and additional supporting materials. We start this larger vision by developing this bi-lingual website (French and English) that focusses on resources from sub-Saharan Africa, but it is our vision that in due time, and by working with the appropriate partners, the website will also cover other regions in the Global South.

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