Is it scriptural to use an indigenous name of God and has there been good and lasting fruit in the church history from using an indigenous name for God?
This question was thoroughly discussed this week in the article titled, ” Cultural Theology and Missiology”.
The papers introductions about the use of “El” for the Hebrew language was helpful in connecting other cultures use of their indigenous names for “Creator ” or personal God.
God expresses through out His word His desire to be in personal relationship with us, His creation, His people. I agree wholeheartedly with the statement, “It is a gift from God fora people to pray to Him in their native tongue, in their “‘heart language’.
Korea is presented as a good example of how missionaries connected the people with Hananim to find their personal God.
Gods heart is always centered around relationship and I think not only is this pertinent to this subject but also in how we engage another people group. God gave us two ears and one mouth. Its with great purpose. There is so much to gain from hearing others share their stories, to learn how they identify and to sit with open hands, ready to see a signpost that might be right in front of us.
Unless I missed it, I didn’t find a good way to make this connection for Japanese mentioned in the paper. What I can conclude though at this point, from reading, discussion, and sitting with this topic and material prayerfully is that just as the name “El” for Creator God has become dirtied and was being used to call upon with many other dieties names by the Hebrews at one time… does not mean it has to be thrown out. The same can be true I think for Japanese and the word, ” kami”. Though there are so many “Kamis” and it can be confusing at first to a non believer, it is here that we are invited in by our Father to facilitate life -giving conversation that shares with them this “personal kami ” … their Creator through stories, testimonies and actions that align with his Words.
I tried using these two terms for Supreme Being 上帝 (joutei) also from China, and 天之御中主神 (Ame no Mi-Naka Nushi no Kami), but they don’t seem to be widely used or understood.