Honor, Shame, and the Gospel (New Book!)

Honor, Shame, and the Gospel (New Book!) November 17, 2020

In 2016, the first Honor and Shame Conference was held in Wheaton. It brought together leading voices in the theology and missions world to deepen the honor-shame conversation. Some of those voices have now joined together as contributors to a new book!

It’s called Honor, Shame, and the Gospel: Reframing Our Message and Ministry, edited by Christopher Flanders and Werner Mischke. Here is a list of the contributors:

  • Steven C. Hawthorne
  • Jayson Georges
  • Tom Steffen
  • Jackson Wu
  • Randolph Richards
  • Mako A. Nagasawa
  • Steve Tracy
  • Lynn Thigpen
  • Arley Loewen
  • Steve Hong
  • Cristian Dumitrescu
  • Rich James
  • Katie J. Rawson
  • Nolan Sharp
  • Audrey Frank

In Honor, Shame, and the Gospel, over a dozen practitioners and scholars from diverse contexts and fields add to the ongoing conversation around the theological and missiological implications of an honorific gospel. Eight illuminating case studies explore ways to make disciples in a diversity of social contexts—for example, East Asian rural, Middle Eastern refugee, African tribal, and Western secular urban.

Sherwood G. Lingenfelter (Senior Professor of Anthropology and Provost Emeritus at Fuller Theological Seminary) says this about the book:

Missiologists have argued for decades that biblical interpretation and theologies emerge from the unarticulated experiences, presuppositions, values, and worldview of theologians and pastor/missionaries engaging scripture. This volume, with its focus on honor/shame, provides substantive documentation of that phenomena, but much more.

In Part 1, seven essays explore diverse theological interpretations of scripture, all framed around general and specific questions of honor/shame and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Part 2, eight essays provide case studies of ministry to persons who face honor/shame dilemmas in life and challenges for those who seek to share Christ or make disciples in these communities.

The power of this volume lies in its diversity of perspectives—Kärkkäinen with an interdisciplinary reflection on honor, guilt, shame, face, and forgiveness; Georges on historic theology, Steffen with a clothesline theology for the world—which, with the other essays in the volume, embrace the whole of scripture, the diversity of theologies, and a sampling of the broadest range of missional engagement of humanity.

This material overflows with rich insight, and provocative application for today’s global mission force, providing resources for theological and missiological reflection regardless of one’s culture of origin or one’s engagement in ministry.

Honor, Shame, and the Gospel provides valuable resources to impact the ministry efforts of the church, locally and globally. Linked with its ancient honor-shame cultural roots, the gospel, paradoxically, is ever new—offering fresh wisdom to Christian leaders and optimism to the church for our quest to expand Christ’s kingdom and serve the worldwide mission of God. 

Early Reviews & Endorsements

For me, what’s doubly exciting is the range of endorsers. They include significant names from across multiple disciplines. Here are just a few.

Christopher Flanders and Werner Mischke in Honor, Shame, and the Gospel have brought together an astonishingly diverse selection of essays illuminating the long-neglected dynamics of shame and honor in our understanding of the Christian message. The result is nothing less than a tour de force in exposing the narrow frame of guilt-innocence which has dominated theological and ecclesial discourse for centuries, and, in the process, opening fresh avenues for a deepened understanding of the far-reaching power of the gospel for all peoples. These essays will stir your theological imagination to new heights!

Timothy C. Tennent, Ph.D., President. Professor of World Christianity. Asbury Theological Seminary

In this single volume, God has brought together some of the world’s brightest cross-cultural gospel communicators and thinkers to share with us the wisdom they have gleaned about worldview and how it is influenced by guilt, shame, and fear. Armed with this knowledge, missionaries are much better equipped for incarnational ministry than they were a few decades ago.

Roland Muller, WEC International. Author of Honor and Shame: Unlocking the Door

When I was in seminary, learning about honor, shame, and the impact of social values on culture and religion was transformative for my understanding of Scripture, theology, and the world. I am delighted to see this interdisciplinary contribution to honor-shame studies bring together influential scholars and practitioners from many backgrounds and contexts. Highly recommended for pastors and students, but also for any and all who care about the whole church bringing the whole gospel to the whole world.

Nijay K. Gupta, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

It’s impossible to think about and practice mission today and bypass an honor-shame framework. This new resource offers a deep dive—theological, anthropological, and with case studies––into honor-shame missiological reflection. This will serve as a great resource for colleges, seminaries, and mission training centers equipping God’s people for 21st-century mission.

Ed Smither, Ph.D., President, Evangelical Missiological Society. Dean, College of Intercultural Studies. Columbia International University

“I’m completely convinced that it is high time for a major reframing of the gospel in the West. This is not only because our prevailing articulation of it is indexed to a completely different historic, religious, and cultural era, but also because the culture/s in which we now serve are immeasurably more complex and require a deeper understanding of honor-shame and how the gospel addresses this ubiquitous human experience.”

Alan Hirsch, author of numerous award-winning books on missional spiritual, leadership, and organization. Founder of Movement Leaders Collective and Forge Missional Training Network

We are in an era when we need to rethink how we are sharing the Gospel. What worked in earlier decades, or with previous generations, very often is no longer effective. Given the scope of global migration patterns, prior thinking that honor and shame cultures were for “others in a different part of the world” is no longer accurate. In almost any city or context that is not ethnically homogeneous, we now need to understand the concepts in this book if we want to be more effective in leading people to Christ and aiding them in their discipleship journeys.

Mary Lederleitner, Ph.D., Author of Women in God’s Mission, Managing Director of the Church Evangelism Institute at the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center

The richness of this book is in the conversation between different voices as they wrestle with reading scripture and its honor and shame perspective and apply it in a multiplicity of ministry contexts.

Cathy Hine, Ph.D., Co-founder When Women Speak, Interserve, Angelina Noble Women’s Mission Research Centre, Australian College of Theology 

Written by leaders and practitioners with diverse missiological experiences, these essays and stories focus on the convergence of honor, shame, and the gospel, at both the theoretical and practical level. This timely volume will further your sensitivity towards honor-shame motifs in Scripture. Additionally, the stories that are drawn from nations as varied as Cambodia, Croatia, and Syria will surely challenge you to consider the strategic importance of such motifs for advancing the gospel in a global context.

Te-Li Lau, Ph.D., Associate Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

This compendium highlights an exceptional collection of essays in the ongoing conversation about honor-shame dynamics in biblical, theological, and missiological studies. The wide range of essays contained in this volume will help enrich cross-cultural practice while also equipping the Church to grow as a global family. It is a welcome addition in facilitating understanding and love of neighbor between those in Western and Majority World contexts.

Greg Mathias, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Global Studies, Associate Director of International Missions for the Center for Great Commission Studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

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