Gospel and Culture — Guest Bloggers

In a notebook dating back to 1984 I find notes from Dr. Phil Thornton’s mission class (PT) at Asbury College. This contains references from Anthony Campolo’s “Ways We Distort the Gospel” (AC) and Don Richardson’s book/movie Peace Child (DR). I now quote (or perhaps misquote) from these sources as I reflect on the above subject.

Worldview can be either religious or secular, a sense of judgment and values bound up in language, an ever-changing culture and integrated system of values. What is it like to be a North American in another culture? Majority rule is generally the norm in N.A. In Japan, for example, the majority will more often compromise for the minority when a decision affects them.

We think that if a person is not involved in the solution, he is assumed to be part of the problem. This raises questions about value system, for values come out of one’s cultural background. It’s part of one’s unconscious behavior, usually logical to that person. Listen to others in order to understand and affect change into a Christian perspective. (PT)

We tend to impose our own traits onto Jesus and Christianity. We see Jesus as white, American, Protestant, and Republican with all its middle-class traits. Americans see success as the ultimate best and failure as the ultimate worst. We could see Jesus as a failure, for he died young at the peak of His ministry. Jesus exalted the losers – look at the twelve disciples. Jesus walked with the lowly, not the potentates. A Christian lifestyle is one lived sacrificially for other people. Introduce yourself and others to the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief. We are not to make people disciples of Uncle Sam, but of Jesus Christ. We are losing our young people not because we are presenting a Gospel that demands too much but one that demands too little. (AC)DR Market.CG

Every culture has a key that unlocks the meaning of Scripture, a form already there to hold the meaning of Truth. How do we determine a dynamic equivalent appropriate to another culture? When we look at the impact of a biblical injunction we discover the meaning and function. For example, “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (2 Cor. 13:12). The dynamic equivalents involve translation, church, and conversion. (DR) My interpretation: Function is a kiss; meaning is a greeting. Now compare the biblical injunction and today’s culture wherever we live.

That’s it for a trip back to a college class and what I think is still important for a worldview.

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I love the Lord. To those I love I am wife, mother, granny, great-granny. To my corner of the world I am a writer.

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