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Missio Inter Gentes: Towards a New Paradigm in the Mission Theology of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC)

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This essay seeks to investigate the mission theology of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) as presented in its official documents during the past three decades of its existence and evaluate its implications. In its official documents, the FABC has proceeded on the basis that the Asian milieu, with its rich diversity and plurality of religions, cultures and philosophical worldviews require a distinctively Asian approach to the proclamation of the Gospel that is sensitive to such diversity and pluralism. To this end, this essay surveys and examines the principal aspects and foundational principles of the FABC's theology of mission. It also explores the implications of the FABC's missiological approach for meeting the challenges of the task of carrying out the Christian mission in the diverse and pluralistic Asian Sitz-im-Leben, especially the FABC's consistent insistence that the Christian mission in Asia is best carried out through a threefold dialogue with the myriad of Asian religious traditions, Asian cultures and the teeming masses of Asian poor and marginalized. It then suggests that the FABC's missiological approach is best described as missio inter gentes (mission among the nations) rather than the traditional missio ad gentes (mission to the nations), because of how the FABC perceives the issue of religious pluralism in Asia and its preferred non-confrontational dialogical approach for dealing with it.


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