Seeking Christian Enculturation through Filial Piety among Vietnamese Evangelicals


  • Joni Flye


This work utilizes qualitative research as ethnography to modify Schreiter's inculturation model for contextualization detailed in Constructing Local Theologies. The modification described in this work attempts to build cultural bridges through an incarnational witness of the gospel message as an enculturation model and is described in its entirety in the research project, "Seeking Christian Enculturation among Vietnamese Evangelicals", (Wise, 2020). An enculturation model seeks out indigenous traits which are already extant within the culture at large and are implicitly accepted and practiced by Vietnamese Evangelicals. Such a model is a more effective means of bridging cultural and spiritual divides between Evangelical practice and indigenous ancestral veneration practices than past contextualized practices requiring acculturation. Filial piety, an internal disposition demonstrating a filial habitus, continues to be the central enculturated trait expressed by Vietnamese Evangelicals in spite of acculturations learned through Western Evangelical doctrines and dogma. This research supports the thesis that Vietnamese Evangelicals not only continue to inculcate a filial disposition as a central virtue, but implicitly practice it as an enculturated Christian trait in both ecclesial and daily practices. Thus, a model of enculturation reveals more efficiently the potential cultural bridges for the construction of local theologies than the Schreiter model that begins from acculturation.