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Should theology be taught thru nonliterate means?

Autor: J.O.Terry
Data: 02.05.2010
Category: Formação de Líderes

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Publicado originalmente em Inglês

My last 13 years on the mission field I spent much of my time teaching emerging church leadership that was mostly nonliterate or had low literacy, and those who were literate but had very little formal education. Yet these men and in some cases women felt God’s call to serve as pastors, evangelists or biblewomen and were hungry to learn, Most of the teaching was done in five day or less workshops tha covered key Bible stories and a synopsis of what the stories taught.

One of the first things I realized is that most of these new leaders needed discpling to affirm their own understanding of salvation. Since many of them could not take notes or read notes the theology had to come thru the stories they were learning and discussing.

I further discovered several things. One is that it sometimes would take several stories to explain and illustrate a theological truth. A single story could often give the wrong perspective. Second I discovered that the truths that were understdood easily were relational truths that were fairly evident in stories without requiring logical arguments to draw them out. Third I found that rather than describing the characteristics of God and Jesus, that the stories illustrated them as living characteristics, thus enabling the oral workers to "see" God at work and His characteristics expressed through His work. And last I found tht it was helpful to review or revisit these theological truths peridically to refresh and reaffirm them for oral leaders.

And I might add that this is a slow process, painlfully slow in the beginning but that as the leaders’ understanding of a living theology through the stories grows, they soon developed a growing ability to learn faster. I would liken it to putting together a jigsaw puzzle where little progress is seen in the beginning, but as the picture begins to take shape, then the pieces fall into place sooner and easier.

I admit that most of these people will never attain a seminary level understanding of theology. But they can grasp a practical working level of basic theology that is supported by the narratives (and other passages and verses) they have learned and the perspectives then gain from having several narratives that all point to the same truth. For these folks this will likely be the only possible means of teaching theology in their lifetimes. As oral communicators they live in practical worlds and typically do not fill their minds with facts they have no immediate use for, or that they do not see the need for their people to know. some mistakes will be made. But this is a start to equip the present oral leaders in this generation to preserve the purity of biblical truth in a functional manner for them and their people.

Palavras-chave: narrative theology, nonliterates, oral leaders

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