Towards a Biblical and Missiological Model of Cross-Cultural Contextualization among Chinese Immigrants in "Barrio Chino" Duarte of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
This study examines the challenge of contextualizing the gospel to Chinese immigrants in the Dominican Republic. Chinese people have been migrating to the Dominican Republic, mainly from Guangdong and Fujian, since the early 1960s. The immigrant population grew to appropriately 50,000 in the 1990s. In spite of this steady growth in population, Adventist leaders have not been able to influence Chinese immigrants to appreciate the gospel and to make decisions to begin a journey toward Christ. This study examines this missiological challenge.
The purpose of this study is to develop a model of contextualization for presenting the gospel to Chinese immigrants that is biblically faithful and culturally relevant. The model is based on data obtained from interviews and participant observations I conducted in Duarte, known as Barrio Chino, in the city of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The data were gathered from 24 respondents consisting of six Chinese immigrants, six Dominican-born Chinese, six leaders from other denominations, and six Adventist church leaders. The data were analyzed for reoccurring themes, discrepancies, and nuances.
After three cycles of analysis, eight reoccurring themes emerged from the data. These themes or findings are crisis, language, storytelling, social needs, pragmatism, hard work, values, and availability. Jackson Wu’s theories of biblical exegesis and cultural contextualization were used to discuss the findings. The findings were framed within biblical and cultural themes. The cultural themes are relationship, fortune, and identity. On the other hand, the biblical themes are creation, covenant, and eschatology. The biblical and cultural themes were integrated to evoke responses of appreciation, acceptance, and decision for the gospel of Christ. The theories of conflict-competence-theory and critical realism were used to explain the inter-relationships between biblical and cultural themes in creating a model of contextualization that is biblically faithful and culturally sensitive.
This study is relevant to church administrators, mission practitioners, students of mission, and teachers of mission. It exposes readers to theoretical and practical insights for engaging in contextualization that is biblically faithful and culturally appropriate to the Chinese immigrants’ view of reality in the Dominican Republic. The study has the potential of helping Chinese immigrants develop a new appreciation of the gospel and to evaluate carefully biblical beliefs, values, teaching and practices in their journey toward Christ.