No one wants to look stupid. People don’t tend to believe things in the hope that they will get laughed at. People would pretty much mock you if you depend on “Uncle Rico” for dating tips.That’s what Chinese call “losing face.” Why? “Face” is about placing value in something or someone. Previously, we saw that Jesus explains faith in terms of face. By seeing faith in light of “face,” we are reminded that faith is public, not private. No one… Read more

Should Christians want to “save face”? This post clarifies a part of my previous post that might sound confusing the first time one hears it. Last time, I looked at John 5:18, 22–23. I said, “Saving faith is saving face. In particular, I’m referring to God’s face. The goal of our faith is seeking God’s glory by honoring Christ. Paradoxically, there is a way in which we are supposed to seek honor. How then do we purse face in a… Read more

Have you ever noticed how Jesus defines faith in terms of face? Jesus asked his critics, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” Too often, we define faith in terms of believing a certain set of doctrines. Of course, this is true to some degree, however I think we may be compromising the main idea by settling for what is merely true. If we… Read more

Look what 3-years and a lot of coffee can do. It’s now ready at The Kindle version is coming soon. Saving God’s Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame I’ll follow up soon with more information. Read more

There is a difference between using stories to teach the Bible and preaching the gospel as a story. It’s the second option that makes interpretation possible for oral peoples. As Christians, what kind of story are we telling? Read more

How can oral people groups interpret the Bible when they can’t read it? How can they “interpret Scripture with Scripture” when the words on the page are gibberish to them? We can’t dismiss literacy as simply “western.” God himself chose reveal himself through written words. Until literate leaders emerge who can constantly read the Bible itself, what are we to do? This dilemma is not unique to the work of modern day missionaries. Keep in mind the ancient world was… Read more

In the last post, I made a simple argument. It is very easy––if not common––for methods of oral Bible teaching to undermine any hope that illiterate people groups will interpret the Bible for themselves in a way that is faithful to the entire story of Scripture. How are people supposed to interpret a story full of true facts but one that is told in a wrong way? In upcoming posts, I’ll talk about interpretation (or, “exegesis”) and contextualization. For now,… Read more

Some people might take issue with my critique of C2C in the last post. Am I saying C2C is somehow bad? No. That would be too sweeping a comment. A good friend emailed me after my last post. He suggested that some people might misunderstand my meaning. This post is an unplanned interjection to the series. I think it would help to make some clarifications before going on. I will clarify myself by responding to a few possible objections to… Read more

Taking the Context out of the Bible? We’ve all heard taking a passage out of context, where someone interprets a text in a way that completely doesn’t fit with the author’s original context. Among oral-based and illiterate cultures, I wonder if the mirror reflection of this problem exists––stripping the context from the biblical story. I’m asking this question: Might it be the case that some methods of oral Bible teaching may make it more difficult, even impossible, for oral peoples… Read more

In this series, I will explore the topic of contextualization among unreached people groups with orality based cultures. To state it negatively, they have high levels of illiteracy. This is a complex topic, which requires a few posts to unpack the diverse factors related to contextualization among oral peoples. THEOLOGY FOR THE SAKE OF UPGs One of the main reasons I do theological education among Chinese church leaders is to equip a massive missionary force to reach the various unreached… Read more

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