Saturday, January 26, 2008

THE PASTOR GOD USES
...he doesn't contextualize, culturalize or compromise the truth

From the Pen of Luke
Acts 6:4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”

Acts 20:19 "serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; Acts 20:20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, Acts 20:21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:22 “And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, Acts 20:23 except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. Acts 20:24 “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:25 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more. Acts 20:26 “Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men. Acts 20:27 “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. Acts 20:29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; Acts 20:30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Acts 20:31 “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. Acts 20:32 “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:33 “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. Acts 20:34 “You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. Acts 20:35 “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

From the Pen of Paul:
1 Cor. 4:1 ¶ Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1 Cor. 4:2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.

1 Tim. 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 1 Tim. 4:13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 1 Tim. 4:14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 1 Tim. 4:15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 1 Tim. 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

2 Tim. 2:24 "And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 2 Tim. 2:25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 2 Tim. 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."

2 Tim. 4:1 "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Tim. 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 2 Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 2 Tim. 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. 2 Tim. 4:5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

Titus 1:9 "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." Titus 2:15 ¶ "These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you."

From the Pen of Peter
1 Pet. 5:1 "Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 1 Pet. 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 1 Pet. 5:3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 1 Pet. 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 1 Pet. 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

32 comments:

Jonathan Moorhead said...

So true.

Bhedr said...

Amen Jonathan. We certainley can't argue against this.

Kim T said...

Absolutely lovely. Praise God for His faithfulness and clarity in HIS Word and in giving us His Spirit to remind us of all things

Sled Dog said...

The scriptures listed here do not really lay out a strong case against context or culture. We are to proclaim the full counsel of God, in season and out of season. We are to use the gifts God has provided. We are to be godly leaders. We need to be able to teach. All good stuff. Just to me these verses aren't very strong at refuting the idea that somehow in our mission we build bridges to the lost. Almost every missionary I know finds ways to bridge the culture.

Is not Paul advocating context and culture in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23?

Josh said...

I agree with Sled Dog. If we didn't contexualize at all, our Bibles would still be in Koine Greek. The question is not "should we contexualize?", but "how much do we contextualize?".

-Josh

PDS said...

"he doesn't contextualize" -- well, according to Webster's, "contextualize" means "to place (as a word or activity) in a context.

Do you disagree with that definition? God's Word is as true today as it was when written. Yet, I would hope we place it in context.

"culturalize" - don't we do that with regard to commands given to Israel versus the church in Scripture? There are plenty of references where the culture is used to rightly divide the Word.

"compromise the truth" - I think we agree on that point -- yet, even Paul rejoiced in the fact that in spite of "selfish ambitions", "motives", "pretense" by individuals, that Christ was proclaimed (Philippians 1:15-18).

gigantor1231 said...

Sled, Josh, PDS

What I see in the 'contextualization' of the word of God is what I see in many of your commentaries and that is this, in the name of a so called 'grace' you accept that which is profane as pure and you are unwilling to set things right because you fear that you are somehow being self righteous in so doing. The problem is that you apply what you say on one hand yet on the other you refute those that consistently take a stand against those that call for a higher standard.
What has happened in all of our attempts to contextualize, not interpret according to the closest possible meaning in the language that we are interpreting to, we successively water down what was never intended to be watered down so that a culture might be able to accept it. This has caused a spiral downward in each successive generation until we have what we have now, a generation that feels that they have certain entitlements, rights a generation that does not care to relate to the sufferings of Christ and dig deep to find the truths that God has for us. This should not be, but we should render the word of God, the pure truth, as close to it's original as possible, we should present it the same to all and elevate them to the level of what it says so that they might understand the truth in it's full light!

Sled Dog, you think that 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 is the Apostle Paul stating that he is willing to contextualize the message of God in order to reach a particular people group? I have to tell you that the interpretation that you take on that passage is erroneous at best! Paul was speaking of how far he was willing to personally sacrifice his own standards that others might be saved, this passage of scripture was never meant to be a license to compromise the Holy scriptures by contextualization, if you knew what Paul was and how hi his view of the Word of God was you would understand this, but it seems that as is common among many people today they think that somehow these men God chose needed to change the word of God in order for it to have power in the culture that they were presenting it, but it was never the case, and it never should be. Paul's desire was to become 'all things to all men' that he might elevate them to the high level of the truth, he knew the power of the Holy Spirit and that what he was to do was deliver the truth as it was given to him, the Holy Spirit would do the rest, many have tragically forgotten this today!

Josh said...

gigantor,

We can't condemn the whole idea on the basis of some who distort it. You've actually agreed with my point here. You said, "but we should render the word of God, the pure truth, as close to it's original as possible". Yes. We will contextualize (i.e. translate as close to the original as possible for the sake of those who do not know Koine Greek and Hebrew), but we must *never* compromise. The problem comes when one of two things happens, 1) people go to far in their contextualization and water down the gospel, or 2) people don't contextualize at all and reach no one.

I think it would be great if we all knew Greek and Hebrew...but we don't, and we can't hold back the gospel just because someone won't learn the original. We adapt, faithfully, to bring the gospel to the four corners of the earth.

I think it would be better if, instead of condemning contextualization in general (which we all do to some extent), we instead condemn those who pervert the gospel by contextualizing too much (and even those who refuse to do so -- which really is no one that I know of, although this is what *used* to happen on the mission field until people wised up, they would expect the tribal peoples to learn English and sing English hymns and dress like Englishmen, etc...).

I wish I could find an online version of the C1-C6 scale, but I can't. I'm more than happy to email it to anyone interested.

In Him,
Josh

gigantor1231 said...

josh

obviously in translating from one language to another one can not avoid a certain amount of contextualization, I thought that was obvious in my statement that we should 'interpret according to the closest possible meaning in the language that we are interpreting to.' My point is that we should elevate the understanding of the individual to that highest level of interpretation, not that we should lower our interpretation to that individual.
Case in point, I was speaking to a missionary couple that was looking for support, they interpreted the Jesus Movie into different languages and presented it. I brought the issue of contextualization up and they assured me that the original scriptures that were used in the movie were translated as close as possible to the original text. He did say that a problem came when they had to present Jesus Christ as God to those of the Muslim faith, they did not believe He is God so they needed to find a way around that, I have a tremendous problem with that because there is no way around the fact that Jesus is God, the perfect representation of the Father and if we could not present Christ as who Christ presented himself as then they are compromising. We need to present the scriptures as they are because God gave them exactly as they are for a purpose. If we can not translate without compromising away the essential truth of the Word then we need to find a way that the Word is presented exactly as given, but never compromise. No scripture is of private interpretation!

PDS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PDS said...

gig - you crack me up, making assertions that do not represent me. Perhaps you are contextualizing? :)

Josh said...

Gigantor,

Good, we agree then. So let's stop making blanket statements that all contextualization is bad. That's my only concern. I completely agree that the idea of lessening the gospel, or Christ, for the sake of making it understandable is abhorant. And, I agree that we should be raising people up, not dumbing the message down. But this is not conteztualization in general, just specific abuses thereof.

-Josh

gigantor1231 said...

Josh

No blanket statements have been made, and I posted to define what I meant, but hey you get brownie points for being right!

PDS

Great reply, boy, you got me there!

SJ Camp said...

To All
Just got home a few hours ago. Very tired but encouraged from the week with Jerry Bridges and others on our first AudienceONE Ministries Cruise - "The Worship-Centered Life."

Thank you all for praying for my back as well. Hopefully I will have the rest of the surgery this week... May the Lord use it to honor His name and conform me more to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is one quick thought before quickly retiring early:

Contextualization in today's emerging Mars Hill pomo moral pluralistic ecumenical culture means to adapt or conform the message to the times in anyway possible so that it can relate and better connect to the audience of your sphere of influence.

Biblically the message is not the scope of what is contextualized. It is the messenger not the message (read I Cor. 9:18-23). Paul sought to "contextualize" himself; but the message remained absolutely constant: "I sought to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2).

Paul never capitulated to the culture when it came to the cross. In every one of his epistles he never changed the message; though he personally changed or adapted himself so that he would not bring any offense that would prohibit the ministry of the gospel; however, the offense of the gospel and the cross he never once contextualized... It is foreign from the biblical record.

May I suggest to the Driscollettes here (no offense) that you spend as little time as possible reading and listening to biblical and doctrinal lightweights like Mark, and invest your personal study in ready faithfully the Word of God every day. Then add to your study men like Owens, Burroughs, Spurgeon, Watson, Turretin, Smeaton, Buchanon, Bridges, MacArthur, Sproul, Boice, etc. You will be greatly blessed and spiritually nourished.

The more time you spend in God's Word and with proven expositors of His Word, you will become more spiritually discerning about spiritual matters.

Good to be home... And thank you all for your interaction here so far...

Guard the Trust,
Campi
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Josh said...

Steve,

You said:
"Contextualization in today's emerging Mars Hill pomo moral pluralistic ecumenical culture means to adapt or conform the message to the times in anyway possible so that it can relate and better connect to the audience of your sphere of influence."

My reply:
This just isn't true. You obviously think it is, and I won't argue. I've already said it quite clearly that there are degrees of contextualization, but you continue, post after post, to declare that any and all contextualization is the equivalent of heresy. This is an untenable position, but it's yours, so I won't say again what has already been clearly asserted.

You say:
"Paul never capitulated to the culture when it came to the cross. In every one of his epistles he never changed the message; though he personally changed or adapted himself so that he would not bring any offense that would prohibit the ministry of the gospel; however, the offense of the gospel and the cross he never once contextualized... It is foreign from the biblical record."

My reply:
At least you almost get it. This is what we've been saying for some months now. The message doesn't change. It is eternal and absolute.

You say:
"May I suggest to the Driscollettes here (no offense) that you spend as little time as possible reading and listening to biblical and doctrinal lightweights like Mark, and invest your personal study in ready faithfully the Word of God every day."

My reply:
Well, I am no Driscollette, or Driscollite. So if you were talking to me, then I do take some offense at the comment, though I don't expect much more from you. I do listen to him. I also listen to MacArthur, Piper, Sproul, Mohler, Dever, Washer, and read Owen, Schaeffer, Frame, Spurgeon, Edwards, etc...and I can't think of a single one of them with whom I agree fully.

There are many things about Driscoll that I disagree with. One of his latest sermons was especially disappointing. Yet, I don't feel the need to blog about him weekly, or constantly bring up Mars Hill or Seattle in my other articles. There are many bigger fish to fry than Mark Driscoll.

I am a 1689 Reformed Baptist. I get most if not all of my Spiritual feeding from my devotions and good solid RB preaching, and reading of mostly dead authors. My only point in engaging this post is to help you see that your blanket statements about contextualization are misguided. You contextualize every day, yet you post as if any and all contextualization is damnable. I love you Steve, as a brother...I just want to help you see more clearly. I'm not trying to defend Driscoll, or get anyone to listen to him. I couldn't care less if anyone listens to him or not. I am only concerned for condemning something ignorantly and/or foolishly. Intellectual honesty is important for us to engage the culture with any amount of respect. If we run around calling the earth flat, or saying that the government is poisoning our drinking water, we will only add unnecessarily to the already misguided opinions others have of us.

Certainly our message is already offensive. An offense to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew. We can't and shouldn't change that. Only God can change a heart. But neither should we add to that offense unnecessarily by making blanket statements that aren't true about the wickedness of contextualization. That's my only point in all this. Though it may be a lost cause, I will continue to try to help you see this Steve.

In Him,
Josh Wood

Ed Trefzger said...

Dr. Jim Renihan spoke on the topic of contextualization near the end of his guest spot on Dr. James White's The Dividing Line on 1/22/08. It's at aomin.org.

To paraphrase, Dr. Renihan said that if we expect churches in South American, California, Phoenix, New Orleans or Chicago all looked the same and worshiped the same, then there's something wrong with our view.

The elements of worship and the message of the Gospel are not to be tampered with. The circumstances of worship and the contact point of the evangelist or preacher with his culture will by necessity adapt. To suggest otherwise is to be unBiblical, or perhaps you'd argue that both Nicodemus and the woman at the well should have been admonished for their lack of recognition of Ezekiel or both should have been convicted of their sin of living with a man who is not their husband.

SJ Camp said...

The elements of worship and the message of the Gospel are not to be tampered with. The circumstances of worship and the contact point of the evangelist or preacher with his culture will by necessity adapt.

I agree with this--well said by my friend Jim Renihan.

IOW, the content remains constant regardless of ones culture; but the messenger will adapt to the circumstances of his culture--exactly.

Josh:
I don't see contextualization as heresy. I see what it does to the message in some cases as possibly leading to heretical views. There is a difference.

Contextualization today is always couched within the perimeters of adapting the message to culture. Why? Because postmodernism is the new hermeneutic by which Scripture is interpreted by the culture (one of the hall marks of the EM) and then applied.

Biblical ministry is just the opposite: culture is interpreted through the lens of Scripture where truth remains constant AND the messengers of the gospel will become all things to all people in the service of ministry so by all means we may win some.

The reformed faith throughout redemption history stands for this continuity of message and adaptability from the messenger.

It is a bit humorous to me that the EM (both strains) always begins on the pragmatics of programs, methods, techniques, gimmicks, tricks, relatability, etc. being the primary focus while biblical essentials and the gospel of sola fide remain back burner issues.

In fact, by their onion skin, the essentials of the faith must be flexible in order to fit in to cultural contexts for them to have greater impact by figuring out new ways to reinvent the terms and their meanings regarding truth constraints to impact certain targeted demographics.

It's nonsense.

Show me one person within the current EM ecumenical movement that is not pragmatic driven according to their local cultural influences rather than truth driven within those same cultural influences...

Read all of Paul's epistles and you will see him ministering in different manners, but never once contextualizing the truth. The gospel doesn't need contextualization to be eternally impactful; it just needs to be faithfully proclaimed. But depending on those various cultures we all minister in, we should contextualize ourselves - "become all things to all people..."

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Josh said...

Steve,

See? You've done it again. Though most of your post is good and true, look what you did here:

You said:
"I don't see contextualization as heresy. I see what it does to the message in some cases as possibly leading to heretical views. There is a difference."

Me:
Good. What it does in *SOME* cases...but then you immediately said this...

Steve:
"Contextualization today is always couched within the perimeters of adapting the message to culture."

Me:
But this is a lie. It's not *ALWAYS* couched in what you say here. When Renihan contextualizes, he doesn't couch it in adapting or changing the message for the culture...when you contextualize, I hope you don't adapt the message...I don't, when I contextualize. So to say always is an untruth. First you agree with what we've been saying, then you make another blanket statement.

Which is it? We all contextualize, even you. What I've been saying the whole time is that we must change the circumstances, but never change the elements. The truth never changes, but the messenger must continually adapt to his audience.

You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

SJ Camp said...

Josh
1. Among many of us in evangelical leadership there is a profound concern on this issue of contextualization for the precise reason that it has come to mean an altering or dumbing-down of the message itself. Especially in the ECM.

2. When I have met with various missiologists on this issue, they do struggle with the idea that Paul only contextualized himself (1 Cor. 9:18-23) as opposed to the message as well. They see both--I and many others do not. The burden of proof biblically for anyone asserting such falls squarely with them.

3. We can be dogmatic brother where Scripture is dogmatic; I can demonstrate that Paul never altered the message or dumbed it down to appeal to culture; but that he himself became all things to all people in order to win some (a belief I have held for many years in ministry).

4. Even the more orthodox men within the emerging church like say a Driscoll, contextualize the message.

Consider the following example:

Communication of the message:
"Jesus was born of a Virgin named Mary. She was a woman who found favor with God. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel."" (Scripture)

Contextualization of the message:
"Jesus' mom was a poor, unwed teenage girl who was often mocked for claiming she conceived via the Holy Spirit. Most people thought she concocted the crazy story to cover the fact she was knocking boots with some guy in the backseat of a car at the prom." (Driscoll)

One communicates biblical truth; the other... contextualizes biblical truth and alters the text and truthfulness of Scripture to do so.

This serves to illustrate the concern before us. It is a matter of discernment.

Grace and peace,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Josh said...

Somehow you've completely missed the point once again. It's really quite mind-boggling. You seem to have a vendetta that blinds you into making blanket statements that are untenable. I give up.

-Josh

gigantor1231 said...

Josh

Your frustration towards Steve is untenable, you hold that there is a certain amount of contextualization that takes place, as does Steve, you hold that we should not contextualize to the point that the true meaning of the scriptures should be removed, as does Steve, yet you say that what he is saying the points he presents are untenable. You have to be joking, he even presented a example of the kind of contextualization that he is referring to, ie. Driscoll and boot knocking!
What do you feel about the example I left with referrence to those that would contextualize and remove the offense of Christ claiming to be God from what they produce? Is that acceptable to you?
To be honest with you, you sound like you are above what is being presented here, rather arrogant! Now you scurry off because you are frustrated. Frustrated with what? Unacceptable answers? Point out what is untenable. Is it the fact that Paul never contextualized away the truth to save some, as Steve was saying 'he did contextualize himself.' It would be highly out of character for Paul to not present the word in any other way than how he learned it because that was the discipline that he held to from his training.
So, produce what is untenable and don't run off.

Josh said...

gigantor:

Your frustration towards Steve is
untenable, you hold that there is a certain amount of contextualization that takes place, as does Steve, you hold that we should not contextualize to the point that the
true meaning of the scriptures should be removed, as does Steve, yet you say that what he is saying the points he presents are untenable. You have to be joking, he even presented a example of the kind of contextualization that he is referring to, ie. Driscoll and boot knocking!

Josh:

I am not joking at all. You both continue to pay lip service to what we are saying in regards to contextualization, but then in the next breath, out of the other corner of your mouth, make blanket statements about contextualization in general being bad. I think I've been quite clear about this, I don't know how you are missing it.

gigantor:

What do you feel about the example I left with referrence to those that would contextualize and remove the offense of Christ claiming to be God from what they produce? Is that acceptable to you?

Josh:

I agreed with you...as I made quite clear in my other posts. I don't know how you missed that.

gigantor:

To be honest with you, you sound like you are above what is being presented here, rather arrogant!

Josh:

Please forgive me. I didn't mean to sound either arrogant or above the conversation. I admit that it's a bit frustrating to talk in circles when it seems that no one is listening. My apologies.

gigantor:

Now you scurry off because you are frustrated. Frustrated with what? Unacceptable answers? Point out what is untenable.

Josh:

I have, I don't see how you've missed this.

gigantor:

Is it the fact that Paul never contextualized away the truth to save some, as Steve was saying 'he did contextualize himself.' It would be highly out of character for Paul to not present the word in any other way than how he learned it because that was the discipline that he held to from his training.

Josh:

I have already made this clear. I don't see how you missed it.

gigantor:

So, produce what is untenable and don't run off.

Josh:

I have already made this clear. I don't see how you missed it.

--

Josh Wood

δουλος ᾿Ιησου Χριστου

gigantor1231 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gigantor1231 said...

Josh

The question is not "should we contexualize?", but "how much do we contextualize?". We can't condemn the whole idea on the basis of some who distort it. we must *never* compromise.
Josh, your myth is this;

'If we don't contextualize at all we might miss some!'

Paul said that "I planted, Apollos watered but God gave the growth."

God gave the growth, they took what God gave them and presented the message to those they spoke to exactly as God gave them. That being said this does not mean that when given to someone else it needs to be in Aramaic, Koineic Greek or Hebrew, it is delivered in the language of the people exactly as it is spoken by God. Sometimes the illustration is different but the message it self is always the same. A good example is Don Richardson who was a missionary in Papua New Guinea, he could not deliver the message in the language of the tribe he was reaching out to using his illustrations, but when he found the illustration that they could understand then he could deliver the message of the Gospel in it's entirety. The word of God was fully satisfied, there was nothing left out to appease or compromise, the truth was fully delivered in order that the point of salvation was based on the truth of the Word of God!
Once the illustration was found that worked to bring understanding then the work was to elevate the understanding to see higher and more difficult concepts. This may or may not take illustrations common to the society being ministered but it always ends up elevating to the truth exactly as it is, moving from the milk to the meat. That being said, if God does not soften the hearts of the people to receive his truth then it does not matter what the illustration is, they will never receive the truth, it is God who draws all men to himself and only He can bring increase, that which He uses to bring increase is His pure unadulterated truth, no scatology, man made wisdom or sophia logou, simply his pure unadulterated truth, The Gospel.
This is what I have said all along and to be honest with you, if you have a problem with this then you just have a problem, perhaps this is all a game to you, I do not know.

gigantor1231 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh said...

gigantor,

Per your last post, which you apparently were wise enough to remove, I don't plan to respond any further than this post. If you think I am here to hinder or to puff my chest or to throw stones, than I have no interest in dialog. I post to try to sharpen brothers in Christ and to get us all to use our language responsibly.

You say:

"Josh, your myth is this;

'If we don't contextualize at all we might miss some!'"

I reply:

Again, you obviously are not listening to me at all. I am reformed, and as such recognize that it is the Spirit who converts, not our tactics. I've been quite clear on this.

The worst part is, we agree in principle, but when I try to help you, you paint me as a Driscolette who warps the message to win some...this couldn't be farther from the truth.

Once again, as I've stated many times before, not inly in this thread, but in others as well...the message *NEVER* changes, but *WE* become all things to all men.

Every one of us contextualizes *EVERY* time we share the gospel in the English language.

My only concern this whole time is trying to lump *ALL* contextualization in with the bad, when we can't avoid doing it ourselves all the time. I agree that when they change the gospel, it is damnable. But that is not the fault of contextualization, it is the fault of the individual.

Here is the chart I've mentioned before. Enjoy.

http://areopaguschurch.org/C1-C6.html

In Him,
Josh Wood
δουλος ᾿Ιησου Χριστου

gigantor1231 said...

Josh

illustration is not contextualization, illustration always leads to the unadulterated truth!

θεός ὁ λόγος ὁ σός ἀλήθεια

Ed Trefzger said...

1) I don't like Driscoll's use of words in his description. That I take issue with. However, your example is a reading of Scripture and one is explanation -- albeit crudely -- of the text. Did Driscoll deliver his paragraph in lieu of Scripture, or as part of exposition? If there was a reading of Matthew 1:18-23 and then Driscoll's text, then you would be mischaracterizing what he's doing and comparing apples and oranges. That is, if what he said was as part of an expository sermon, his error is in his irreverent tone, not contextualization.

2) If you are criticizing him for the second -- as part of a sermon -- then you would have to criticize me for explaining in a sermon that to the Jews, the Samaritans were from "the other side of the tracks" or John Piper when he said in his Dec. 30, 2007 sermon that "God has his cell phone button always on." Contextualization is part of the exposition, illustration and application of Scripture -- explaining the meaning in the context of redemptive and recorded history, illustrating it in our modern vernacular, and applying the text in the context of our 21st century existence.

Do you know for a fact that this text was not read and that paragraph you quote substituted for it? If you can say for certain that this quote substituted for a Scripture reading, then I would agree with you. If you cannot, and it was part of a sermon or lesson, then your beef is with the language and tone and not with contextualization.

In a society where unwed pregnancy is not frowned upon, we can't rely on mid-20th century moires to give meaning to the text. People today might say, "Well, why didn't Joseph and Mary give the baby up for adoption; why didn't she think about an abortion; why was Joseph worried about shame?" It's sad, but it's our times. When I was in high school, a pregnant teen was a scandal. Less than 30 years later, it has become institutionalized.

Providing context -- contextualizing -- is not in and of itself wrong. Doing it the wrong way is wrong.

Say I were to preach John 13. I could just have someone read the text. Or, I could explain the custom of washing feet when visiting a host. I could explain that they didn't bathe much and that after they bathed to visit someone for dinner, their feet would still be dirty when arriving. I could explain that the host would provide water for washing. I could explain that the lowliest servant wouldn't wash one's feet and that one would wash his own feet.

Or I could let the intensity of the text be lost on a 21st century hearer who would have none of that background.

littlegal_66 said...

Josh wrote:
"I post to try to sharpen brothers in Christ and to get us all to use our language responsibly."


Yes, that is an honorable pursuit....... :-)

One question, though.....if you post to sharpen, do you read to be sharpened?

SJ Camp said...

All contextualization of the truth that seeks to adapt Scripture to culture by altering its meaning or twisting its word is always wrong. Contextualizing of oneself in becoming all things to all men is quite different.

As to whether Driscoll mentioned this in a sermon or not... it was both. Taken from a sermon series and adapted as part of the promotion for his Vintage Jesus book. Regardless, his representation of the story of Mary and Joseph beyond being crass and seedy was not true. He fabricated the biblical account in order to juice up the story and make it more relatable and edgy.

And that by all counts beloved is wrong.

THe emerging movement has been damaging to biblical Christianity on several fronts; but primarily two key areas: promoting heretical beliefs as biblically acceptable within postmodern culture (ie. the denial of hell; the denial of penal substitutionary atonement; the denial of justification by faith alone; the denial of sola Scriptura; the denial of original sin; etc.) to unbiblical worldly methodology that 125 years ago was known as the Downgrade Controversy in Spurgeon's day. whether a perversion of message or methods - both are being offered at undisciplined, undiscerning wholesale bargain bin prices today...

Josh
While I appreciate your circumspect use of language to avoid hyperbole, I would like to know on what threads and blogs other than mine here have you challenged Driscoll and his pulpiteering antics with the same fervor and veracity?

IOW, where are you on record as engaging the emerging church and its proponents as much as you have done here on much lessor things?

Thank you and I do appreciate your interaction and dialogue on this important issue.

Campi
2 Cor. 3:5

Josh said...

As I promised not to post here anymore and need to be a man of word, I replied to Steve offline. God bless.

And yes, littlegal_66, I do read to be sharpened, and have been sharpened many times. Thank you for your concern.

In Him,
Josh

littlegal_66 said...

Josh-

Please don't be offended; I only ask because I think it's important that we as believers look to each other to be taught in some areas......and my concern was genuine, not cynical. (But that's hard to express in blogland).

Blessings,

LG66