Friday, October 13, 2006

Is To "Contextualize" Actually To Compromise?

This is an excellent post by Steve Camp on Slice of Laodicea on the topic of how evangelicals attempt to "contextualize" our message to accommodate our contemporary culture.

I understand the pressure to convey our message so our curent culture understands what we are stating but I fear we have a tendancy to "sell-out" or compromise our message in the process. This is something we should be very careful of.

Here is an excerpt:

"Current evangelicalism is obsessed with the latest of benign buzz words - contextualization. It is a central theme to Bible conferences; it is the focus of books, blogs, pulpits and preachers.

...NOW, at its most base level, contextualization it is not first and foremost about proclaiming the gospel, but the purposed targeting of a specific audience group so that the most successful marketing of Christianity to that group can occur. It is the foolish attempt to make Jesus relatable by making the gospel germane (has man's arrogance now so fully blossomed in our day to actually believe that God needs us to make Him and His gospel "acceptable" in order for lives to be impacted with its truth? That if we don't, that evangelism and the fruit of the gospel is somehow stunted?)"



Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Hi, Kenny,
Your stuff is good as always.

Camp is right to point out the arrogance of believers who seek to help poor old God.

It is also disbelief in the sufficiency of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Remind your readers that we are saved by the faith, and faith comes by the hearing of the gospel.

This disbelief and arrogance are not new. When I went to seminary, the buzz words were "relevence" and "being professional."

Not believing that God is powerful enough to take care of Himself is old hat.

Lastly, it is a lie to say that the world cannot understand what we are saying. Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and then He was seem by Peter, the twelve, and even 500 at one time.

There--it's plain English. What's not to understand?

The lie is designed to excuse our sin. The sin of (actually) obscuring the gospel with fancy rhetoric, jokes, and cute stories is born of cowardice. The truth is we are scared to be rejected so we work in the good news into a conversation sneakily if at all.

It is like telling your girl friend you kissed her sister. We know we have to say it, but we try to sneak it in after a joke or some other device to make the medicine to go down better.

The Evangelical church is weighed down with a predominantly effeminate clergy ready to tremble at so much as an unbeliever's snear. Not exactly the stuff of our forefathers who were killed on a regular basis.

Good Stuff.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins

6:38 PM  
Blogger Kennyo said...

WOW Phil, these comments of yours are great anad right to the point. The comments are good enough to warrant its own post.

...very well said

8:49 PM  
Blogger Phil Perkins said...

Thanks for the encouragement. Same to you, too. Here is my email if you like:

Again, don't publish this since it is to you personally.

Am working on posts at on the Zondervan Handbook to the Bible. Feel free to quote. I quote you once in awhile.

Love in our Savior,
Phil Perkins.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Okay, I've glanced at your blog a few times and I'm sick of all this "I've got it all figured out. I'm defending the Truth" bull****.

Here's the thing: God does not want us to have it all figured out. He intentionally surrounds us with mystery as a motivation for seeking Him, knowing Him, and trusting Him. If faith was all about certainty, it would not be faith.

You come across as a haughty bigot. That is why people hate Christians.

Also, truth, by definition, does not need defending.

A couple questions:

How much do you think there is to know about God? And what percent of that do you know, Kenny?

While I'm picking a fight and starting an argument, let's get into the "facts" of the Bible. We'll start at the beginning: Do you belive that Adam and Eve were two Real People who actually lived?

Please reply, and if I need to edit out my "bad word" (that's another topic we could get into) so as to make this postable, I will.

-Will from Seattle

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will, I guess you missed the scripture of "don't let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, and in another verse speak as if you are speaking the very words of God. I don't think you need to use the raw language of the unsaved to get your point across. If you are calling Kenny a bigot I think you have missed the point of the blogs. Over and over he says he doesn't know everything he is just putting the truth out there. Maybe it's not Kenny that you have problem with maybe its the truth? Out of the heart so the mouth speaks. I have some Ivory soap Let's start there. We are called to be Holy as he is Holy, that includes all areas of our life, Inside and out. My prayers are with you.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not so difficult to contextualize without changing the message. If a westerner goes to Timbuktu he needs to speak the language as well as understand the culture. There are cultural mores and customs that must be understood. We see Paul at Mars Hill as an example. He spoke the language but changed his delivery. This postmodern generation doesn't operate like most who read this blog does. They speak the same words but the meanings are different. Their minds operate differently.
I'm not suggesting we all get tattoos and nose rings but if we want our audience to hear the good news we had better speak in way they hear it. We can do so and remain honest to who we are. It is a small thing to say, "They understand English so it's on them." No. It is on the believer to preach Christ and to do so in a way that He is heard. To do otherwise is to give a graceless message. If the Word became flesh the least we can do is comminucate in a way the lost can understand. If I keep people uncomfortable and away from church because I insist on wearing a suit then maybe I should reconsider my heart. Just don't compromise the Truth.

RC Spring Hill

6:29 PM  

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