Tag Archives: contextualization

Missionaries and Culture

Missionaries and Culture

This entry is part 33 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Missionaries do their work in a perilous environment. Such has been the rise of ideas such as “multi-culturalism”, that many missionaries now go by a different title: aid–workers, social-workers, educators, or even consultants. Opting for different titles is understandable. In the popular imagination, missionary is increasingly synonymous with colonialist, imperialist, or patronizing religious types “forcing” their… Continue Reading

How to Desecrate a Religion

How to Desecrate a Religion

Greg Stiekes discusses how we have often come to desecrate Christianity: Cheapen it. Change it. Contextualize it. Control it. Commercialize it. He concludes: Cheapening, contextualizing, and controlling Christianity are often driven by believers with strong motives, believers with a heart to reach others with the gospel and to woo them to Christ. But we must… Continue Reading

Relevance and Importance

Relevance and Importance

When some people speak of “making Christianity relevant”, they are referring to demonstrating Christianity’s importance and applicability. They fret over the fact that unbelievers and the wider culture dismiss Christianity and religion so easily. Secularism provides people with enough food, shelter, conveniences, comforts and sufficient diversionary amusements to keep them from truly investigating the claims… Continue Reading

Is using pop music in church the same as incorporating indigenous music in missions contexts?

Is using pop music in church the same as incorporating indigenous music in missions contexts?

One of the most difficult issues church leaders face today is whether necessary (and historically practiced) “inculturation” of Christian worship applies to contemporary American pop music. This article is an absolutely fascinating attempt to answer that issue. Now, huge disclaimer first: This is written by a Roman Catholic expressly for a Roman Catholic audience and specifically rooted… Continue Reading

The “Two Hands” of Ministry

The “Two Hands” of Ministry

In 2006 an approach to church ministry began to gain popularity. It was called a “two-handed” approach to ministry. One closed hand represented the theology of the church and its grasp of biblical truth and principles. The hand being closed symbolized the non-negotiable aspects of theology. One open hand represented the methodology of the church.… Continue Reading

Gospel impact and the world’s approval

Gospel impact and the world’s approval

Christians today seem to assume that the best way to have the greatest gospel impact in the world is to gain the world’s approval and acceptance first. If we can just earn their respect, perhaps they will give us a better hearing. There is certainly some truth to this: our behavior before the unbelieving world should… Continue Reading

Acts 17 and cultural contextualization

Acts 17 and cultural contextualization

Acts 17 records Paul’s attempt to evangelize three cities, each of which had very different kinds of people. Paul’s audience in Thessalonica was predominantly Jewish. He spent time in the synagogue there speaking to Jews and Jewish proselytes, but it was not a receptive audience. Some did come to Christ, but for the most part,… Continue Reading

The Mission of Worship: An Assessment of the Missional Church Movement’s Impact Upon Evangelical Worship Philosophy and Practice

The Mission of Worship: An Assessment of the Missional Church Movement’s Impact Upon Evangelical Worship Philosophy and Practice

The following is the paper I presented yesterday at the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society: PDF Audio Version Most church leaders readily recognize that God has tasked churches with several different purposes, yet how those purposes work together has equally mystified them. One of the most potentially difficult ministry relationships to reconcile has… Continue Reading

Is culture the same as race?

Is culture the same as race?

The issue of culture is always of interest to those involved with worship for one obvious reason–the “cultural” aspects of worship, primarily music, poetry, and rhetoric, are what often cause the most controversy. Questions rising out of this include: Is musical style neutral? Are there some musical styles that are more fitting for worship than… Continue Reading

The Lord is my . . . cattle-driver?

The Lord is my . . . cattle-driver?

There is a lot of talk about contextualizing biblical truth these days. Of course, there is always a need for translation from language to language and context to context. What people mean when they say “contextualization” (as opposed to “translation”), however, is usually something deeper. Regardless of the term used, we need to recognize the… Continue Reading

Relevance is irrelevant (Part 10)

Relevance is irrelevant (Part 10)

This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series Relevance is Irrelevant You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 I return this week to the series I abruptly left unfinished about a year ago. According to 1 Corinthians 1-3, the means that God wants to use to save sinners is the gospel, the preaching of “Christ crucified.” The unsaved of this world do… Continue Reading

Distorting the building blocks of worship

Distorting the building blocks of worship

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series The Building Blocks of Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I suggested that the basic building blocks of worship worship established in the creation/fall events: (1) God reveals himself and initiates a relationship with his people; (2) God forms the boundaries of the relationship with his commandments; (3) the nature of worship consists in this relationship of communion between man and his Creator; (4)… Continue Reading

Contextualizing in Blaséburg

Contextualizing in Blaséburg

Picture being called to live out your Christian life in Blaséburg. Blaséburg is a materialist’s paradise. Food is abundant and cheap, clothing and housing affordable, and labor-saving devices and gadgets fill up the empty spaces in most houses, large as they are. Blaséburg is cushioned from the brevity and harshness of life of many other places in the world… Continue Reading

The Relationship Between Holy Culture and Unholy Culture Should be One of Witness

The Relationship Between Holy Culture and Unholy Culture Should be One of Witness

This entry is part 18 of 20 in the series Christ the Sanctifier of Behavior You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The sixth conclusion drawn from the idea that culture is behavior is that the relationship between holy culture essay order and unholy culture should be one of witness. The separatist sees the relationship between the church and “unholy” culture as one of complete separation. Two-kingdom advocates also see the two as completely distinct but encourage… Continue Reading

The Missional Approach to Culture

The Missional Approach to Culture

This entry is part 11 of 20 in the series Christ the Sanctifier of Behavior You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The missional church movement is certainly not a monolithic group; yet characteristics of this movement are strikingly similar to characteristics of the transformationalist approach to culture.1 Several authors have suggest that the missional church movement is essentially transformationalist including Michael Goheen and2 Mark Snoeberger.3 Like transformationalists, missional authors recognize anthesis between the church and its surrounding culture; but… Continue Reading

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?

This entry is part 1 of 20 in the series Christ the Sanctifier of Behavior You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

“What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”1 These immortal words from the pen of early church father Tertullian of Carthage illustrate well the tension that exists for Christians seeking to follow the Lord’s claim that they are in the world but not of the world (John 17:6-19). And two thousand years later, the perennial question… Continue Reading

Scripturally, “Culture” is Simply the “Behavior” of a People

Scripturally, “Culture” is Simply the “Behavior” of a People

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Toward a Biblical Understanding of Culture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If there is any concept of the anthropological/missional idea of “culture” in the NT, it is the idea of “way of life.” A people’s culture is their behavior and their conduct. Several important implications may be drawn from this analysis. First, NT authors explain cultural differences between various people groups as differences of belief and… Continue Reading

The Missional Understanding of “Culture”

The Missional Understanding of “Culture”

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Toward a Biblical Understanding of Culture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last time I argued that the contemporary idea of “culture” came to being within discussions of modern anthropology It was in this anthropological climate that the missional idea of culture took shape. Charles H. Kraft acknowledges that the missional idea of culture draws from cultural anthropology: “When it comes to the analysis of such cultural… Continue Reading

Common Missional Definitions of Culture

Common Missional Definitions of Culture

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Toward a Biblical Understanding of Culture You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Likely the most influential early evangelical definition of culture comes from Lesslie Newbigin who claims that culture is “the sum total of ways of living built up by a human community and transmitted from one generation to another.”1 Darrell Guder cites this definition early in his influential Missional Church,2 thus revealing its impact upon later missional thinking… Continue Reading