PHILIP GIBBS, THE WORD IN THE THIRD WORLD. Divine Revelation in the Theology of Jean-Marc Éla, Aloysius Pieris and Gustavo Gutiérrez
is one of the fundamental concepts in the Christian understanding of contact
between God and the human believer. However today some ask whether God
is absent or silent in the face of violence and suffering. Theologians
from the Third World point out that if God's Word is to have any relevance
it must speak to humanity, not in terms of faith and reason, but in terms
of faith and life, particularly the life of the poor.
How can one speak of God's love when so many innocent people suffer in Latin America, or in societies torn apart by forms of neo-colonial violence in Africa? Where can we find a credible symbol of God's saving presence in Asia? These are questions faced by the three theologians in this study: Jean-Marc Éla from Cameroon, Aloysius Pieris from Sri Lanka and Gustavo Gutiérrez from Peru.
These theologians maintain that God's revelation is known not only through the Word in Scripture, but also through human effort which puts God's love revealed in Christ into practice. Their stress on «living the incarnation» allows them to see the liberative activity of God and the struggle of the poor as united in one saving reality. Following Jesus, in striving for life and liberation in the face of death discloses new ways to understand the Word as a Word of life in Africa, the harmony between the Word and silence in Asia and the Word addressed to those reduced to silence in Latin America.
PHILIP GIBBS, born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand
in 1947, joined the Divine Word Missionaries in 1971, and was ordained
priest in 1978. He studied social sciences and history at the University
of Canterbury, New Zealand; anthropology at the University of Sydney, Australia;
theology at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago; and has gained a licentiate
and a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University, Rome. He is
currently continuing in the missionary apostolate in Papua New Guinea,
(C) PUG 1999