Louis Chew offers helpful insight in his recent article “The Pursuit Of Status: How To Avoid Chasing The Wrong Things.” Seeking “face” can get expensive. Chew writes, As it turns out, Diderot was spot on about how material possessions become intertwined with our identity. The wealthier we get, the more things become a form of self-expression. We no longer buy shirts and shorts for the cloth that covers our skin but also to reflect our tastes and social standing. Geoffrey Miller,… Read more

An article recently came to my attention with a very simple claim. J. Brennan, who serves with the IMB and South Asia, makes this argument: “Seminary education can be a useful means of preparing missionaries, but it’s not a necessary means of doing so.” Brennen’s comments are disturbing for a few reasons. Why? They are unclear and potentially even misleading. What else is “not necessary”? The two keywords that need explanation are “necessary” and “seminary.” Below, I will address the… Read more

This guest post by Robert Strauss is Part 3 of 3 in the series introducing his book “Introducing Story-Strategic Methods” Part 2 ends with “bad theology”. Throughout the global mission community, storytelling has supplanted topical teaching. The advent of storytelling worked. Communication improved. But cross-cultural challenges remained. Abrupt entry into a culture is still a mistake, whether to outline topics or tell stories. Towards Strategic Storytelling Not knowing the local history and its accompanying stories as one tells a rival… Read more

Over at Radius International, Sam Trumball rightly observes how people incorrectly define contextualization. Trumball begins by stating, Pinning down exactly what they mean by contextualization, however, often proves elusive. Usually, the answer involves ministry strategies developed by successful missionaries.[1] There are two reasons why previously successful strategies should not stand alone to define contextualization. First, strategy is only part of contextualization. Second, specific strategies should be developed only after language and culture have been learned. I’d like to highlight and… Read more

This guest post by Robert Strauss is Part 2 of 3 in the series introducing his book “Introducing Story-Strategic Methods” Part 1 tells a remarkable story from Morocco about an incident on a train bound for Marrakesh. There is more to the story. In his Prologue, Reza Aslan (2011) tells part of it, including a bitter history throughout the region that not all understand, especially those coming in from the outside. Malcolm and Jennifer, the American couple on the train,… Read more

This guest post from Robert Strauss is part 1 of 3 in the series. Reza Aslan’s recent history of Islam, No god but God, tells the story[1] of a train conductor confronting a young American couple on a coach bound from Casa Blanca on the Atlantic to the interior city of Marrakesh. The conductor, upset, speaks loudly in Arabic, falling at times in anger into his Berber dialect. Long an economic center in West Africa, Marrakesh dates from the Berber… Read more

Most people understand God’s righteousness in Rom 3:4 and Ps 51:4 as punitive, referring to God’s judgment against sin. As I show, this reading is flawed on multiple levels. Both Psalm 51:4 and Romans 3:4 refer to God’s saving righteousness. I suspect the main reason people overlook this view is they miss the structure of Ps 51:1–4. Read more

I’m grateful to let people know about two recently published reviews of my books. They have written generous critiques of each work. If anyone has not read either of these books, the following reviews offer helpful introductions. Read more

Jen Hatmaker’s arguments are flawed because of an increasingly popular but superficial way of interpreting Scripture. This post examines the specific passage she seems to use in order to justify her views on LGBTQ and same-sex marriage. Read more

Sadly, people like Jen Hatmaker give us poor examples of contextualization. She cast aside nearly every principle of biblical interpretation. Because interpretation is the first step of contextualization, various comments on the podcast superficially resemble statements I and others make about contextualization. Read more

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