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So excited to announce the newest book in our book series: Ascension Theology and Habakkuk (Palgrave Macmillan) by Rev. Dr. Neal Presa.

This new book is part of our Asian Christianity in the Diaspora book series edited by Dr. Joseph Cheah and myself. Please do order a copy for yourself and your school libraries.

Ascension Theology and Habakkuk: A Reformed Ecclesiology in Filipino American Perspective (Asian Christianity in the Diaspora)

by Dr. Neal Presa

About the Book

This book describes Reformed ecclesiology through the lived faith of the Filipino American Christian diaspora. It proposes a contextual, constructive ecclesiology by engaging with the Presbyterian/Reformed theological tradition’s understanding of the ascension of Jesus Christ with the Old Testament book of Habakkuk as a conversation partner.


“Embracing the experience and struggle (pakikibaka) of Filipino American Christians in diaspora, Dr. Neal Presa reappropriates a Reformed theology of Christ’s ascension. This creative and contextual work offers inspiration to doing missiology, ecclesiology and spirituality in these turbulent times. Read this book and you are in for our grandparents’ affectionate longing, Habbakuk’s message of hope in the seemingly God”s present silence in midst of evil’s reality, as well as a Filipino American diasporic brand of communal fiesta of witness and self-determination!” (Elizabeth S. Tapia, John Wesley College, Divinity School, Philippines)

“As the center of gravity of the Christian world moves to the global south, new voices emerge that give an added richness to our understanding of scripture and Reformed theology.  One of those voices is Filipino American pastor, ecumenist, and theologian, Neal Presa, who articulates a fresh vision of Christian life in his new book, Ascension and Habakkuk.  The sources that give this book vitality are a surprising mix: the prophet Habakkuk, the heritage of Filipino American Christianity, the Reformed tradition, and the reality of ascension.  Presa has mixed them together with a freshness that reminds us of love of God, love of community, and love of neighbor. I heartily recommend Ascension and Habakkuk to all who seek fresh insights for Christian faith and practice in our time.” (Clifton Kirkpatrick, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, USA)

“By way of acknowledgment, I say thank you for honoring a community of the faithful that is too often, too easily pushed to the margins. Through such a beautiful and accomplished expression, Dr. Presa has honored the Filipino American diaspora and future generations of those who live in the realm of the theology of struggle. It is this both-and dynamic of living in the liminal tension of multiple identities that then become both a challenge and an opportunity for authentic witness in the midst of the struggle to belong.  Dr. Presa connects a multiplicity of intersectional dots that give voice to Habakkuk as he links arms and engages mission and ministry with the Filipino communities.” (Mienda Uriarte, World Mission Office of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, USA)

“Dr. Neal Presa, who is deeply rooted in the Filipino culture and perfectly at home with life and ministry in the United States, uses insightful studies of the much-neglected book of Habakkuk and the less-visited doctrine of Ascension to spell out a Reformed ecclesiology that would speak meaningfully to people in Diaspora.  These biblical-theological explorations built on personal experiences is a significant and valuable contribution to the emerging field of Diaspora Theology.” (S. Wesley Ariarajah, Drew University, USA)

About the Author

Neal D. Presa is Associate Pastor of Village Community Presbyterian Church in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Worship for Fuller Theological Seminary, Fellow for The Center for Pastor Theologians, and served as Moderator of the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church.


Kim, Grace Ji-Sun (Ed), Cheah, Joseph (Ed)

Asian American theology is still at its nascent stage. It began in the 1980’s with just a handful of scholars who were recent immigrants to the United States. Now with the rise in Asian American population and the rise of Asian American theologians, this new community is an ever-important voice within theological discourse and Asian American cultural studies. This new series seeks to bring to the forefront some of the important, provocative new voices within Asian American Theology. The series aims to provide Asian American theological responses to the complex process of migration and resettlement process of Asian immigrants and refugees. We will address theoretical works on the meaning of diaspora, exile, and social memory, and the foundational works concerning the ways in which displaced communities remember and narrate their experiences. Such an interdisciplinary approach entails intersectional analysis between Asian American contextual theology and one other factor; be it sexuality, gender, race/ethnicity, and/or cultural studies. This series also addresses Christianity from Asian perspectives. We welcome manuscripts that examine the identity and internal coherence of the Christian faith in its encounters with different Asian cultures, with Asian people, the majority of whom are poor, and with non-Christian religions that predominate the landscape of the Asian continent. Palgrave is embarking on a transformation of discourse within Asian and Asian American theological scholarship as this will be the first of its kind. As we live in a global world in which Christianity has re-centered itself in the Global South and among the racialized minorities in the United States, it behooves us to listen to the rich, diverse and engaging voices of Asian and Asian American theologians.