Caribbean Theology: Preparing for the Challenges Ahead. HOWARD GREGORY (ed.)- Mona, Kingston: Canoe Press, University of the West Indies, 1995. xx + 118 pp.
This timely collection explores critical issues facing theological education in the West Indies, with special attention to the current status and content of Caribbean theology. Contributors represent a number of mainstream Protestant traditions (Anglican, Moravian, Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian) and approach their topics from a variety of specializations (Biblical Studies, Church History, Social Sciences, Pastoral Care, and Christian Education). Howard Gregory, who is the president of the United Theological College of the West Indies, has done an exemplary job of representing the diversity of theological opinion at the conference as well as highlighting some common concerns of participants. All participants, Gregory points out, acknowledged a pressing need to address practical aspects of pastoral
care and to identify priorities specific to the Caribbean region. In addition, all participants underscored the need for renewed commitment to the task of developing and teaching an "authentic" Caribbean theology, although there is considerable disagreement as to exactly what an " authent ic" Caribbean theology should be.
Gregory has also provided a brief and informative overview of earlier Caribbean conferences that addressed issues relating to ministerial training. He offers a valuable and balanced assessment of the important 1964 conference sponsored by the World Council of Churches which culminated in the founding of the United Theological College of the West Indies in 1965. While judicious in his treatment of the history of theological education in the West Indies, he maintains a critical stance toward European and North American influences.
He asks: Are the patterns of theological education established elsewhere in the world adequate to meet the needs of contemporary Caribbean peoples? Do these patterns represent Caribbean religious experience or are they merely a perpetuation BOOK REVIEWS 187 of colonialism? His position does not reflect changes in contemporary theological education in North America or Europe. The valuable insights to be gained from Third World perspectives have been incorporated into the curriculum at leading seminaries throughout the world. Ironically, a major barrier to the establishment of an "authentic" Caribbean theology may be that at any given time many of the most eminent Caribbean theologians are themselves teaching in Canada, the United States, or Europe.