Watch Kay Higuera Smith talk about the project!

Great Awakenings: Evangelical Postcolonial Conversations (forthcoming with InterVarsity Press 2014)

co-edited by Kay Higuera Smith, Jayachitra Lalitha, and L. Daniel Hawk

Table of Contents


1. Why Postcolonial Conversations Matter

1. “Reflection on Postcolonial Friendship and Its Influence on the Development of the Postcolonial Roundtable.” Brian McLaren

2. “The Importance of Postcolonial Evangelical Conversations.” Steve Hu

3. Evolution of Project and Postcolonial Networks.” Joseph Duggan, Founder of Postcolonial Networks

4. “Orientation to the Book.” Editors

2. Mission and Metanarrative: Origins and Articulations

1. “Tracing the Racialized Eurocentric Metanarrative of Colonialism and Its Legacy.” Teri Merrick

2. “American Exceptionalism as Prophetic Nationalism.” Kurt Anders Richardson

3. “From Good: ‘The Only Good Indian Is a Dead Indian,’ to Better: ‘Kill the Indian and Save the Man,’ to Best: ‘Old Things Pass Away and All Things Become White!’” Richard L. Twiss and L. Daniel Hawk

4. “Colonialism as Apocalyptic Mission: Notes toward a Postcolonial Eschatology.” Christian T. Collins Winn and Amos Yong

3. Sub/Altern/ate Visions: Changing Our Minds

1. “Triple Colonization of Indian Bible Women in the Nineteenth Century: Toward a Postcolonial Feminist Biblical Hermeneutic Relevant for a Postcolonial India.”  Jayachitra Lalitha

2. “Converting a Colonialist Christ: Toward an African Postcolonial Christology.”  Victor Ifeanyi Ezigbo and Reggie L. Williams

3. “Christ the Divine/Jewish Hybrid: Toward a Postcolonial Evangelical Christology.”  Joya Colon-Berezin and Peter Goodwin Heltzel

4. “Recovering the Spirit of Pentecost: Canon and Catholicity in Postcolonial Perspective.”  Megan K. DeFranza and John R. Franke

4. Evangelicalism in Postcolonial Perspective: Constructing New Identities

1. “North American Mission and Motive: Following the Markers.” Gregory Lee Cuéllar and Randy S. Woodley

2. “Exploring the Self by Embracing the Other: Visions of the Other and Evangelical Identity.” Kay Higuera Smith

3. “Prospects and Problems for Evangelical Post-Colonialisms.” Robert Heaney

5. Reconfiguring Communities: Changing Our Practices

1. “The Problem and Promise of Praxis in Postcolonial Criticism.” Federico Roth and Gilberto Lozano

2. “Christian Disciplines and God’s Shalom in the Postcolonial Community.” Nicholas Rowe and Safwat A. Marzouk

3. “Healthy Leadership and Power Differences in the Postcolonial Community: A Reflection.” Nicholas Rowe and Ray Aldred

4. “Holding A True Roundtable: Implications for Postcolonial Theological Dialogue and Praxis.” Judith Oleson

5. “Response: Promises and Prospects”: Gene Green

6. “Benediction.” Greg Carmer

7. “Reflection on the Life of Richard Twiss.” Randy S. Woodley


Short Bios of Contributors

General Index

Scripture Index

Overview of the Chapters

The Postcolonial Roundtable: Beginning a Conversation

The volume begins by locating the ensuing chapters within the narrative of the Postcolonial Roundtable, underscoring the imperative of identifying narrative, location, and convictions. The chapters also address the issue of why the volume and the topics it addresses are important, both for evangelicals and the global community. Duggan opens with an account of the circumstances and experiences that prodded him to invite evangelicals into a shared postcolonial discourse. The chapters by McLaren and Hu respond with evangelical narratives that reinforce the importance and timeliness of engaging in postcolonial conversation.

Mission and Metanarrative: Origins and Articulations

Christian missions colluded with and abetted Western colonial programs by legitimating them through a metanarrative that equated Christianizing with Civilizing. The first section therefore explores the metanarrative’s power and implementation through the construction of identities and the authorizing of certain missional practices. Merrick identifies the conceptual foundation and origins of the metanarrative. Anders Richardson then elaborates how the metanarrative contributed to the development of national identity in the United States. Twiss and Hawk demonstrate how the metanarrative melded missions with the assimilation of indigenous peoples into the “higher civilization” of the U.S. and identify its residue in present missional contexts. Collins Winn and Yong conclude by taking up the topic of missions, setting it within the context of the millenarian impulse of Western Christendom and emphasizing the necessity of rethinking the legacy.

Sub/Altern/ate Visions: Changing Our Minds

This section picks up where Collins Winn and Yong leave off, responding with reflections on the colonial legacy and envisioning new Christianities and practices—Lalitha through a critique of missionary teachings that reinforced imperial control over native Indian women; Ezigbo and Williams with proposals for the construction of an African Christology; and Heltzel and Colon-Berezin by extending James Cone’s work into a robust conversation about Christology. DeFranza and Franke conclude with a chapter that discusses the canon, and grounds new proposals in the spirit of Pentecost, destabilizing inflexible doctrinal frameworks rooted in particular claims about the canon.

Evangelicalism in Postcolonial Perspective: Constructing New Identities

The section sets out trajectories for taking up postcolonial conversations in evangelical contexts.  Woodley and Cuellar challenge to evangelicals to share power and leadership in the church and in mission. Higuera Smith focuses on key areas where identities must be renegotiated in evangelical communions. Heaney concludes with a broad overview of challenges and prospects for constructive dialog with postcolonialism.

Reconfiguring Communities: Changing Our Practices

Praxis, discipleship, and the formation of Christian community constitute fundamental evangelical commitments, elements often absent in current Christian postcolonial literature. The last section thus elaborates both the importance of praxis and ways that postcolonial perspectives may reshape the formation of disciples and communities. Roth and Lozano begin by emphasizing the importance of praxis, not only for evangelical communities but as a challenge to postcolonial discourse weighted too heavily toward the theoretical. Rowe and Aldred extend and develop Woodley and Cuellar’s call for the negotiation of power within the context of specific communal practices. Olsen then brings the conversation full circle by identifying practices that enable the inclusion of all voices and communal shalom, using the experience of the Roundtable as a case study. The volume concludes with Gene Green’s response, which will focus on the prospects, promises, and challenges of carrying postcolonial conversations forward in evangelical contexts.

Themes and Threads

As originally conceived by the Roundtable, the volume had a tight organization, with five main sections on key topics: metanarrative, identity, authority and power, mission, and re-envisioning the evangelical legacy. Each of the five sections was to contain three chapters that explored the topic through the lenses of history, hermeneutics, and praxis, thus rendering continuity on multiple levels. Some authors, however, did not follow through on their assignments, necessitating a reconfiguration of the essays into the present form. Continuity and coherence, focused on the original topics and lenses, will be preserved by introducing the topics and lenses in the editors’ Orientation in the first section and by highlighting their articulation and interface through brief introductions to each section.


Ray Aldred, Assistant Professor of Theology, Ambrose Seminary, CAN

Gregory W. Carmer, Dean of Christian Life, Gordon College

Christian T. Collins Winn, Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Chair of the Biblical and Theological Studies Department, Bethel University

Joya Colon-Bereza, Ecumenical Relations Coordinator, Immigration and Refugee Program, Church World Service

Gregory L. Cuellar, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Megan K. DeFranza, Adjunct Professor, Gordon College

Joseph F. Duggan, Founder of Postcolonial Networks

John R. Franke, Executive Director, Yellowstone Theological Institute

Gene L. Green, Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

L. Daniel Hawk, Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Ashland Seminary

Robert S. Heaney, Senior Lecturer in Theology, Director of Postgraduate Studies and Research, St John’s University of Tanzania

Peter Goodwin Heltzel, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary, Assistant Pastor of Evangelism at Park Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), New York, NY

Steve Hu, PhD Student, University of California, Santa Barbara

Victor Ifeanyi Ezigbo, Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Bethel University

Jayachitra Lalitha, Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament and coordinator of Church Women Centre, Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary, Madurai, India

Gilberto Lozano, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Anderson University

Safwat A. Marzouk, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Brian D. McLaren, Author and Public Theologian,

Teri R. Merrick, Professor and Chair of Department of Theology and Philosophy, Azusa Pacific University

Judith Oleson, Associate Professor of Social Work and Peace and Conflict Studies, Gordon College

Kurt Anders Richardson, Professor of Theology, McMaster University, Ontario, CAN

Federico A. Roth, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Azusa Pacific University

Nicholas Rowe, Benjamin Ryan Chair of Religious and Values Education, School of Humanities and Education, St. Augustine’s College of South Africa

Kay Higuera Smith, Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Biblical Studies, Azusa Pacific University

Richard L. Twiss, co-founder of Wiconi International

Reggie L. Williams, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics, McCormick Theological Seminary

Randy S. Woodley, Distinguished Associate Professor of Faith and Culture, Director of Intercultural and Indigenous Studies, George Fox University and Seminary

Amos Yong, Dean and J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, School of Divinity, Regent University