Understanding Folk Religion

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Understanding Folk Religions by Paul Hiebert, Daniel Shaw, and Tite Tienou, seeks to draw the reader’s attention to the issue of two-tiered Christianity that has developed throughout the world (p.15). Many in the West may think this is a problem that other cultures and nations deal with, but the reality is that this phenomenon is present throughout all of Christendom as the syncretism of formal and folk religion has become common practice. In order to address this, the authors present a four-step model by which missionaries and church leaders can analyze, critique and evaluate the various types and expressions of folk religion they may encounter (ch.1). This model also provides the framework of the book as Hiebert, Shaw, and Tienou present…show more content…
According to the model, an ontological critique of these phenomenological events must involve a careful examination of how they line up with Christian theology derived from Scripture (ch.14). Following that step, the community of believers, aided by the Holy Spirit, is able to arrive at an agreed upon perspective that will ensure the continued advancement of transformational ministries focused on evangelism, discipleship, teaching, and prophecy of correction and hope to their community…show more content…
The extensive examples and case studies from around the world add a depth to the teaching points that brings the book into real life, especially if that life is unfamiliar to the reader. By continually including Christian examples along side of these, the author uncovers that Christianity finds its own roots in some aspects of folk religion, and that our present Christian expressions have some parallels as well. For example, our focus on the need for righteousness with God and others, the presence of creation and flood myths, and rituals that could be defined as rites of transformation (conversion) and intensification (baptism). At the end of each chapter, the “Christian Response” section was key to bridging the gap between folk religion and Christianity by explaining points of commonality and avenues for
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