Perspectives on Faith and Culture in the Philippines, East Timor, and Indonesia

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Abstract

In “Christianization of the Philippines: Revisiting the Contributions of Baroque Churches and Religious Art,” Del Castillo asserts that the fundamental congruencies between the traditional religions of indigenous Filipinos and the Catholic religion contributed to the acceptance, development, and dominance of the Catholic faith in the Philippines. The results of the aforementioned study moved the researcher to further explore the gospel-culture relationship and its impact on the Christianization of selected countries in maritime Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia and East Timor. The study aims to find out why today in maritime Southeast Asia, Catholicism dominates only in the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste (East Timor). Also, the study looks into the Christianization efforts of the Catholic missionaries in Indonesia and how the gospels are being re-appropriated by Christians at the present time vis-à-vis Indonesian culture. Using H. Richard Niebuhr’s gospel-culture typology as a lens, the researchers discuss the Christianization efforts of the Portuguese and Spanish colonialists among the indigenous people of the Philippines, East Timor, and Indonesia during the sixteenth century. The results of the study contribute to the dialogue on how missionary activities can create, in the words of the Euntes Mission Center, a “truly local Church, toward a Church incarnate in a people, a Church indigenous and inculturated” and a Church whose disciples share a vision of life with integrity and dignity.