Lecture 7 – The Gospel and Culture

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  1. Recognize how it is easy for people to add cultural components to the Gospel presentation. (Sect. 43.1)
    1.1 It is easy for people going from one culture to another to add cultural components to the presentation of the gospel.

    1.1.1 Contextualization is communicating the message of the gospel in a known form and language that is understandable to the listener.

    1.1.2 Contextualization recognizes the difference between functions and forms

    • 1.1.3 The early church faced the issue of contextualization – Acts 15·
    • See Appendix 20 – Bible Studies for Further Study – Peter and Paul.·
    • Basic question, “Must a person become a Jew to enter the kingdom of God?”·
    • Basic question, “Is it necessary to become a Christian to enter the Kingdom of God?”·
    • “Christian” does not mean needing to adopt American Christian culture (e.g., “Inductive Bible study is the best type of study and the best way to grow spiritually”). ·
    • Rather, “Christian” means to believe in Jesus as Lord, repent, trust Christ for forgiveness of sins and be a follower of Jesus.·
    • “Christian” does not mean the same thing to everyone in every culture. In many cultures, “Christian” has extremely negative associations (e.g., for Muslims, it means loose morals, drinking alcohol and eating pork).
  2. Recognize the three main areas of contextualization of the gospel and their aspects. (Sect. 43.2.1–43.2.3)

    • 1.1.1 Lifestyle (the Messenger) – “Why should someone listen to me?”
    • 1 Corinthians 9:18-23 (NLT)18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News. 19 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. 22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings. Questions a person asks her or himself· Who do I say I am? · What is my identity? · What are the areas of common interest? · How do I operate as an insider? · How do I serve with humility?

    1.1.1 The Message – “What do they understand I am saying?” Methods: orality, chronological storytelling, proverbs and parables, speaking without notes, and memorization of Scripture.

    1.1.1 The Community – “What do they see as an expression of church?” Differences between form and function

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  3. Recognize descriptions of the issues of “form” and “function” within the church. (Appendix 19 – Form and Function in the Church).

    Form: the Gospel message must always be expressed in cultural terms in a language, cultural symbols and behavioral practices that will, in part, mold the message—the message forms can change.
  4. Recognize descriptions of the issues of “form” and “function” within the church. (Appendix 19 – Form and Function in the Church).

    Function: Christianity claims that its message is universal and transcends any one culture— the message functions need to be preserved.
  5. Recognize the C-1 to C-6 Spectrum’s levels of contextualization in the Muslim world. (Sect.
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  6. Recognize the three major results of sin and their descriptions, the three “messages” within the gospel, and which result of sin and which type of culture are best addressed and understood by each “message.” (Sect. 44.1.2, 44.2,, &
    The three major results of sin: guilt, shame and fear

    44.2 The Gospel Message addresses all three results of sin Cultures can be guilt-based, shame-based or fear-based. • Redemption – addresses guilt • Reconciliation – addresses shame • Propitiation – addresses fear • Scripture that links all three: Romans 1:16-17, 1 Cor. 15:42-43

    • 44.2.1 The Message of Redemption Justification by faith Character of God – justice Legal language – penalty paid Most understandable to those in Western culture and the Western church (e.g., The Four Spiritual Laws, Romans Road, and Steps to Peace)
    • Key passages: • Romans 3:21-26 21 But now

    44.2.2 The Message of Reconciliation Restoration to family Character of God – honor Relational language Most understandable to Eastern cultures and the Eastern church

    • 44.2.3 The Message of Propitiation Removal of wrath Character of God – victorious Power language Most understandable to those from animistic cultures Animism generally is a belief in numerous personalized, supernatural beings that are endowed with reason, intelligence and/or volition and inhabit both objects and living beings and govern their existences. For example, some tribal cultures of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas are animistic.
  7. Recognize the ways that God prepared the nations for the gospel. (Sect. 45)
    • 1.1 Are we bringing or taking the gospel?
    • 1.1.1 God has left a witness of himself in every culture. Find a reference point. Look for a bridge.
    • 1.1.2 Avoid thinking, “God is not in their culture, so we have to bring ours.”

    1.2 Redemptive analogies

    • 1.3 Proverbs and stories·
    • Jesus used stories a lot. Re-tell or re-contextualize a parable. Become a good storyteller. Ask God for stories to tell people.

    Proverbs are very important in some cultures. Learn their proverbs. Ask them to teach you their proverbs.
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Lecture 7 – The Gospel and Culture
2012-06-12 22:27:49
Lecture – Gospel Culture Evangelism Domestic Cross Cultural VLI Spring 2012 JBL

Lecture 7 – The Gospel and Culture, Evangelism: Domestic and Cross-Cultural, VLI, Spring 2012, JBL
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