Here is a review of D. J. Chuang and Timothy Tseng, eds., Conversations: Asian American Evangelical Theologies in Formation in Religious Studies Review 33:4 (2007): 319-20 by Dr. Amos Yong of Regent University School of Divinity. The Religious Studies Review is published by the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion.
+ + +
CONVERSATIONS: ASIAN AMERICAN EVANGELICAL THEOLOGIES IN FORMATION. Edited by D. J. Chuang and Timothy Tseng. Washington, DC: L2 Foundation, 2006. Pp. xi + 130. Paper, $10.00, ISBN: none; the book is available from www.L2Foundation.org.
Published by an organization devoted to “Asian American leadership and legacy development” (website), this is the first book to appear on the topic of Asian American evangelical theology (AAET). The six essayists reflect the diversity of the AAE community. David Yoo, a historian at Claremont McKenna College, surveys (with two collaborators) the pre-WWII histories of Japanese and Korean American Christians, and urges that religion needs to be factored into immigration and race analyses of these communities, even as Tim Tseng, a historian of American Christianity and founder of the Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity (http://www.isaacweb.org), exposes the “color blindness” of American church history and provides some hermeneutical options for moving beyond orientalist or assimilationist models of the Asian American Christian experience. A practical theologian at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Peter Cha, discusses the challenges involved in identity formation among second generation Korean Americans. An intriguing essay is missiologist James Zo’s insightful analysis of how structural and power issues complicate the assessment of racism, prejudice, and discrimination on both sides of the American and Asian American equation. For a volume on AAET, the two explicitly theological essays are by historical theologians: Paul Lim (who specializes in early modern England and teaches at Vanderbilt University) reveals the importance of biography in the construction of any AAET, and Jeffrey Jue (a post-Reformation historian at Westminster Theological Seminary) seeks a way beyond both modernist experientialism and postmodernist subjectivism by returning to the gospel. May others join in the conversation launched herein.
Professor of Theology and Director of PhD Program in Renewal Studies
Regent University School of Divinity
* * *
Dr. Amos Yong is author of six well received books, including the forthcoming Hospitality and the Other: Pentecost, Christian Practices, and the Neighbor (Orbis Books, 2008). A clergyman with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church, his scholarly life is dedicated to deepening biblical theology and promoting ecumenical and interfaith understanding.