The Ethics of Missionary Strategy

Do you have an ethical ministry strategy? I’m guessing most people have never asked this sort of question. What does strategy have to do with ethics? What’s strategy to do with ethics? A few months ago, I heard a book survey different ethical approaches (e.g. utilitarianism, virtue theory, etc.). It dawned on me that the [Read More…]

Understanding Honor and Shame (Training Video)

This short video explains the meaning of “honor and shame,” highlighting key themes are mark all human cultures. It clarifies certain impressions and misunderstandings about how honor and shame work within a cultural context. The above video is the third in a series that provides a short introduction to a number of topics. In Part [Read More…]

Honor among Southern Evangelicals

How did honor shape evangelicalism in the American south before the civil war? Robert Elder answers this question in his new book The Sacred Mirror: Evangelicalism, Honor, and Identity in the Deep South, 1790-1860.  Readers can gain a better grasp how honor-shame work in various cultures. More importantly, I think his book will equip the church [Read More…]

Great review of “One Gospel for All Nations” from STR!

I’m very grateful to Southeastern Theological Review for publishing a review of One Gospel for All Nations. Greg Mathias does an exceptional job summarizing the book’s essence. Authors appreciate when reviewers genuinely engage with one’s ideas. It’s very apparent that he did. If you’d like an introduction to One Gospel for all Nations, check out [Read More…]

How the West shames the rest

People wonder why the rest of the world gets angry at Western countries. In the early 2000s, one leader said that “they hate our freedom.” Not even close. If you want to know why the angry, one can simply observe how Westerners shame Muslims. Be aware that we can shame other people, even without knowing [Read More…]

“There is no God without me.” I’m disappointed.

Disappointed. That’s how I felt recently after attending a meeting for the Society of Asian Biblical Studies (SABS).  Sadly, I’m reminded that much of what passes for scholarship is sheer speculation (if not pleas for attention). The presentations came from people who actually lead seminaries, universities and churches! As I listened horrified by these presentations, [Read More…]

Contextualizing without Compromising like Aaron (Part 2)

What else can we learn about contextualization from the golden calf story in Exodus 32? Last time, I mentioned 3 things. Today’s post offers two more insights. 4. Feeling Threatened Like Aaron, we are more likely to compromise when sensing a threat to ourselves or our people and ministry. There are many kinds of “threats.” [Read More…]

Contextualizing without compromising like Aaron (Part 1)

What can we learn about contextualization from Aaron and the golden calf story (in Exodus 32)? If the term had existed back then, Aaron might have claimed that he was simply “contextualizing.” Yet, we should be clear: the Israelites were not doing contextualization; they were changing and compromising the truth. Building on previous posts (part [Read More…]

Contextualizing One Gospel (Training Video)

Here is the second in a series short training videos. Last time, I gave a basic explanation of contextualization. This video introduces the basic biblical framework for contextualizing the one gospel in any culture. It proposes a model that is both firm and flexible so that gospel presentations can be biblically faithful and culturally meaningful. [Read More…]

How Empathy Helps Contextualization

At its best, contextualization requires us to intentionally interpret the Bible with empathy. (For my first post on “intentional contextualization”, click here.) When ready the Bible, we have a natural tendency to villainize people when they fail. We often identify ourselves with the “good guys” and wonder how in the world those “other people” could [Read More…]