Contextualize. Don’t Merely Theologize.

I was a math major. But it was my college soccer class that made me feel dumb. In our first scrimmage, the teacher told me to kick off the ball. Since I attended school in America, I knew what a “kick off” is. So, I naturally ran up to the ball and kicked it as [Read More…]

Contextualize. Don’t Merely Evangelize.

As I waited for my plane, I was stumped by what I was looking at. If Chinese understood the English on the KFC sign, no one would want to eat there. It simply read, “finger lickin’ good.” (See the pict below) For anyone who knows Chinese culture, this slogan would be like Colgate advertising that [Read More…]

Contextualizing Christmas in China

If you are interested in contextualization in China, you might want to check out Ruth Wang’s article, “Yellow Christmas.” She points out that many Chinese people complain that Christmas is a “Western” holiday, so it shouldn’t be celebrated in China. How are churches responding? She writes, The programs designed by Chinese Christians to celebrate Christmas [Read More…]

Do We Foster Humility and Hutzpah?

Previously, I claimed that good contextualization requires two things: humility and hutzpah. In this post, we want to ask a simple question, How are we doing? Do evangelicals encourage the people to have the humility and hutzpah to contextualize? Do we foster these qualities? It might be harder than you think to develop humility and [Read More…]

Humility and Hutzpah: Two Characteristics of Biblical Contextualization

Contextualization requires character more than competence. Too few people talk about this. As a result, all discussion focuses on (important) intellectual issues but rarely is consideration given to the character that yields good contextualization. Yes, contextualization often requires a bit of creativity and experimentation. But what else goes into it? The Character of Biblical Contextualization [Read More…]

The Yin-Yang of Contextualization

The male students in my class agreed, “The Bible says that men are more important than women.” In Chinese culture, one never wants to provoke a teacher, but that is exactly what they did that day. Of all people, my Chinese students should grasp the interdependence of maleness (yang) and femaleness (yin). The yin-yang symbol [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 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…]

Explaining Contextualization (a short video)

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll post a series of short videos explaining key ideas and introducing various tools. These videos intend to answer the most fundamental questions we discuss on this blog. In this post, I explain what is contextualization. In the future, other videos will address questions like “How do we  contextualize [Read More…]

Learning Contextualization with “Uptown Funk”

Here’s a fun demonstration of contextualization. 1 song. 66 different dances. Each fits its context. Learning to dance differently in another context requires work hard. Different moves don’t imply a different song. Similarly, there is one gospel for all nations. Let’s not settle for one cultural expression of the gospel nor make others conform to [Read More…]