What do John Piper and N. T. Wright have in common? China. Together, they give us a better understand of a Chinese theology of salvation. “Picking Truth” or “Picking Teams”? Piper and Wright’s influence on me is quite evident in the last major chapter of Saving God’s Face. I can’t tell you how many times people told me that I need to be careful about using NT Wright’s ideas in my book. “They will think you are a liberal,” I… Read more

Last week was Week 4 of the book giveaway. The theme of the week focused on the interaction of missiology & theology. The winner gets 5 books free. My book–– Saving God’s Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame …and each of these 4 books… Theology and Practice of Mission: God, the Church, and the Nations Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology… Read more

We don’t have to choose between God’s honor and his righteousness. That idea, however, contradicts some evangelical thinking. Here’s a quote from my book Saving God’s Face. [Bruce] Demarest is representative in characterizing God’s righteousness as that which justification overcomes. He says, “The biblical doctrine of justification deals with the fundamental issue of how guilty sinners can be acquitted and restored to favor with an infinitely righteous and just God.” Therefore, one of the “obstacles” to acquitting sinners is the… Read more

Of making many atonement theories, there is no end. It can be a real headache trying to sort out all the different theories in history. Unfortunately, people can feel a pressure to pick one biblical metaphor over another when describing the atonement. The consequence can easily be that we start pitting one text against another such that we unwittingly ignore (or under emphasize) key teachings in Scripture. I would agree with Scot McKnight’s basic contention that we need to do… Read more

For whom did Jesus die? Ultimately, Jesus died for God. I have found that statement is a bit jarring for some people. “God doesn’t have any sin,” is a common reply. That response illustrates how easy it is for us to focus so much on one particular glorious truth that we miss a bigger reality being revealed. When discussing the atonement, people typically debate whether Christ died for all people or for the Church only. To be clear, I am… Read more

This is the 4th and final week of a series giveaway in which I’m giving away a lot of books. Each book concerns the interaction of theology and missiology. Why? All the posts this week will discuss how to contextualize salvation, in particular Christ’s atonement and justification. This is the subject of the last third of my book. This week, if you have entered the drawing, you could win the following books. My book–– Saving God’s Face: A Chinese Contextualization… Read more

In the third major section of Saving God’s Face, I try to grasp the inner logic of face, honor and shame. Here are some of the questions I explore: How do honor and shame shape what one thinks is moral and immoral? Should “honor-shame” be contrasted with “law”? Is honor-shame an “Eastern” idea? Does honor-shame thinking reduce to relativism, as is commonly supposed? Can we treat “glory” and “honor” as synonyms? What role do honor and shame have in the… Read more

Check out Werner Mischke’s post “What does it mean to contextualize the gospel?”   Contextualizing the gospel from Werner Mischke   [UPDATE: Werner left a comment letting us know that the above link is not downloadable. Instead, you can click here for the same presentation with some added details.]   He opens with a question posed by the late missionary-theologian Lesslie Newbigin, How can the gospel “come alive” in all these different cultural contexts, and still be the same authentic… Read more

There is a subtle but serious distinction between faith and face. Consider John 7:1–24. I’ve pasted the entire text at the bottom of this post. For now, I’ll set the scene with vv. 3–5, “So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the… Read more

This is week 3 of my series introducing my book Saving God’s Face. And I’m still giving away books! This weeks theme and the books are all about honor, shame, and “face.” Someone is going to win a copy of my book plus a choice of 2 out of three books 1. Lost Letters of Pergamum, The: A Story from the New Testament World 2. The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why 3. Misreading Scripture with… Read more

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