February 1, 2013

This is second post where I answer a reader’s questions about my latest article, “We Compromise the Gospel When We Settle for Truth: How ‘Right’ Interpretation Lead to ‘Wrong’ Contextualization.” Comment from John: Absolute moralism/relativism—this is a little difficult to swallow.  I understand and agree with much of what you say hear.  From a Chinese perspective, they fear in making moral judgments even within contexts that demand one.  For example, abortion.  Is this right or wrong?  Pirating software or DVDs?  I know the latter is… Read more

January 30, 2013

As I announced previously, my newest article was published in Global Missiology. Someone read it and sent me a lot of good questions. I know from experience that others have similar questions. He said I could post our interaction. For the sake of his privacy, I’ll just call this person “John.” I hope you find it helpful. Let a comment with your own thoughts. This is PART ONE of two. For those of you who have not read the article,… Read more

January 28, 2013

Here are some good reasons why you should NOT wait for the kids to get older before getting on the mission field. This is a nice post by The Gospel in China, entitled 7 Reasons to Get to the Mission Field Before You’re 30. Here are the seven reasons, but you’ll want to check out the explanations that go with each. 1. Languages are hard to learn 2. The early legwork can be brutal 3. There is a steep learning… Read more

January 25, 2013

One of the glaring weaknesses of missionaries to China is the lack of theological language, as opposed to more general religious language. You may be surprised to know even many Chinese Christians don’t know key terms related to core theological ideas. From time to time. I’ll give my own suggestions for teaching and discussing various biblical doctrines. I warn you, however, that Chinese theological language has not become as standardized as it is the West. So, some may dispute my… Read more

January 23, 2013

Here’s a good quote relating glory-honor to works: “The one good work that God requires of us according to Paul, is that we seek after the glory, honor, and immortality that we do not have.” Mark Seifrid, “Justified by Faith and Judged by Works: A Biblical Paradox and Its Significance,” SBTJ, 95 (84–97). Read more

January 21, 2013

This is Part 3 in a series that aims to help people understand contextualization. Contextualization comes from our having a certain perspective on the biblical text and the cultural context. In Part 1, I surveyed a number of standard evangelical views of contextualization (in which contextualization is essentially a kind of communication). In Part 2, I suggested an alternative view in which I distinguish two kinds of contextualization. This post illustrates different ways of seeing the world, connecting them with… Read more

January 16, 2013

What we don’t know about contextualization CAN hurt our gospel ministry. Typically, people regard contextualization as a form of communication or application. This is not mistaken; but it is critically incomplete. Contextualization most basically is an act of interpretation. Only then can it be understood as communication or application. Contextualization is not primarily something we do to the gospel; rather, it is the mind’s perception of and/or response to the gospel. This is a broad description. In actual fact, we… Read more

January 14, 2013

This is part 1 in a series on contextualization. It first considers conventional evangelical views on contextualization and the need for a new perspective. Part 2 will introduce a distinction between two kinds of contextualization. It concludes by explaining why it matters that we differentiate the two. Finally, part 3 will illustrate four ways in which people “see” the world. Taken together, they reinforce the importance of perspective and worldview in doing contextualization. Just for fun, we’ll draw from the… Read more

January 10, 2013

Here’s the second part of Karl Dahlfred’s reply to my questions. After you read his answers, let me know your thoughts on how Theology Drives Methodology might critique various mission methods. You seem to approve of Nevin’s critique of that Finney’s methods (and their modern descendants), namely, they make Church redundant. Recently, Scot McKnight makes the case that individualistic “soterian” gospel presentations (e.g. Four Spiritual Laws, Roman Road, etc.) have a similar effect in that there is nothing inherent to… Read more

January 9, 2013

I know a number of mission agencies will begin having winter meetings in the coming weeks. This means a lot of discussion about church planting strategies and methods. To stimulate a little discussion, I’ve offer two reviews of Steve Smith and Ying Kai’s T4T: A Discipleship Re-revolution. The first review is from George Robinson (D.Miss, Western Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Missions and Evangelism at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. His short article was originally published in… Read more

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