Global Dictionary of Theology: A Resource for the Worldwide Church, Edited byWilliam A. Dyrness and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

Global Dictionary of Theology

A Resource for the Worldwide Church

Edited by William A. Dyrness and Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen
Associate Editor Juan F. Martinez and Simon Chan

Global Dictionary of Theology
  • Length: 996 pages
  • Dimensions: 7 × 10 in
  • Published: October 10, 2008
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 2454
  • ISBN: 9780830824540

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Theological dictionaries are foundational to any theological library. But until now there has been no Global Dictionary of Theology, a theological dictionary that presumes the contribution of the Western tradition but moves beyond it to embrace and explore a full range of global expressions of theology.

The Global Dictionary of Theology is inspired by the shift of the center of Christianity from the West to the Global South. But it also reflects the increase in two-way traffic between these two sectors as well as the global awareness that has permeated popular culture to an unprecedented degree.

The editorial perspective of the Global Dictionary of Theology is an ecumenical evangelicalism that is receptive to discovering new facets of truth through listening and conversation on a global scale. Thus a distinctive feature of the Global Dictionary of Theology is its conversational approach. Contributors have been called on to write in the spirit of engaging in a larger theological conversation in which alternative views are expected and invited.

William A. Dyrness, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Juan F. Martinez and Simon Chan edit approximately 250 articles written by over 100 contributors representing the global spectrum of theological perspectives.

Pastors, theological teachers, theological students and lay Christian leaders will all find the Global Dictionary of Theology to be a resource that unfolds new dimensions and reveals new panoramas of theological perspective and inquiry. Here is a new launching point for doing theology in today's global context.

"At long last we have at our disposal a dictionary on global theology that is truly global both in method and content. With contributions by 190 theologians around the world on subjects that are of global interest, the dictionary is an eloquent testimony to the fact that theology is no longer a Euro-American affair but has become a vibrant enterprise of world Christianity. Here you can hear, perhaps for the first time, all the theological voices that have resounded throughout the ecumene. With this dictionary, a new era in theological conversation has begun. The editors and InterVarsity Press are to be heartily congratulated for producing this splendid theological resource. Comprehensive in scope and lucidly written, with helpful bibliographies, the dictionary will be a must-have for every theologian and library for decades to come."

Peter C. Phan, The Ignacio Ellacuria Professor of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University

"This dictionary represents an excellent survey of the current state of Christian theology, and moreover supplies a sound basis for thinking about coming changes in the shape of the Christian world."

Philip Jenkins, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Humanities, Pennsylvania State University

"In a setting characterized by our increasing awareness of cultural diversity, few issues are more pressing for the practice of contemporary theology than embracing the contextual nature of all theologies, including our own. This is a landmark volume that serves to simultaneously decenter the assumptions and conclusions of modern, Eurocentric theological traditions from their place of cultural hegemony while inviting them into a new and vibrant conversation as a participant with other voices at the ethnic and global roundtable. This emerging dialogue has the potential to liberate the standard accounts of Western theology from their cultural captivity and to open up new and hopeful vistas of theological inquiry in the service of the local and global church. All those interested in the future of theology and the church will find this work to be an indispensable resource."

John R. Franke, Lester and Kay Clemens Professor of Missional Theology, Biblical Seminary

"This landmark volume charts the rich interaction taking place between the local and the global in twenty-first-century theology. It is fresh, creative and fascinating. Unlike most dictionaries, it should be read cover to cover, and more than once."

Dana L. Robert, Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Christian Mission, Boston University School of Theology

"The editors of the Global Dictionary of Theology have provided readers with a bridge to the theological perspectives that Christianity is offering early in the twenty-first century. The bridge to the past has not been destroyed but has yielded to the vibrancy and theological insight of the Global South. Christians, regardless of their context, now have a theological dictionary that acknowledges new and exciting theological pathways."

Byron D. Klaus, president and professor of intercultural leadership, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary

"A unique and fresh contribution to the field of Christian studies. . . Provides a breadth of coverage not found elsewhere."

John Jaeger, Journal of Religious and Theological Information, November 2010

"This work brings theology into the twenty-first century, challenging and complementing afresh, while also affirming the historic beliefs of the Christian church. . . invaluable for those seeking to be informed as they enter distant cultures to teach, preach, and learn from fellow believers. Among the theological dictionaries this writer has reviewed, several claiming to be international, this is superior to all."

J. Scott Horrell, Bibliotheca Sacra, October-December 2010

"A major resource and a creative one at that which should find a place in any theological library."

Myk Habets, Pacific Journal of Baptist Research, October 2009

"This dictionary highlights the ways in which religion and theology are matters of international dialogue, how 'Christianity is going south,' how the traditional Western perspective restricts our view and knowledge of things, and how new challenges and perspectives arise in the world today. The dictionary does not merely claim to be global - it proves that it really is."

Stuart Hannabuss, Reference Reviews, 2009

"A welcome first step in recognizing and engaging with these important non-Western perspectives. Recommended."

A. Limpitlaw, Choice, June 2009

"The impressibe book is a testimony to the vitality of evangelical theology and its claim for leadership within the ecumenical spectrum of theology."

International Review of Biblical Studies, 2008-2009

"Accessible and well-organised reference work will be a welcome addition to anyone's library. Significantly, entries by the editors William Dyrness and Veli-Matti Karkkainen are especially judicious, and it is their voice that sets the overall tone. This is a model dictionary in terms of cross-referencing, indexing and the provision of generally blanaced bibliographies."

Dr. Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln, Church Times, February 27, 2009

"It is a book that will serve well in research libraries, seminaries, and the libraries of ministers who find themselves traveling much. It will also be useful to the one who desires to learn of the past and present differences in Christendom."

Pastoral Musings (, December 15, 2008


How to Use This Dictionary
List of Contributors
Dictionary Articles
Scripture Index
Persons Index
Subject Index
Articles Index


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William A. Dyrness

William A. Dyrness (DTheol, University of Strasbourg; Doctorandus, Free University) is professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (Dr.Theol.Habil., University of Helsinki) is professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and docent of ecumenics at the University of Helsinki. He is ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and is also an expert on Pentecostal/charismatic movements. He has served as visiting professor in various schools around the world and has participated in numerous international theological, missiological, and interfaith consultations. His many books include The Trinity: Global Perspectives, An Introduction to the Theology of Religions, and the five-volume series A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World.