Friday, December 14, 2007

Piper says it too: The Gospel Doesn't Need Contextualization ("barely any")
...a spot on video, check it out!

It's what I've always said: the gospel DOESN'T need to be contextualized to be effective; it just needs to be proclaimed! Piper also says the same thing here. Don't let the emerging/emergents - missional experts fool you folks: salvation is of the Lord. Genuine evangelism isn't that complicated nor is it made efficacious by anyone's methodology. Whether you are in Nashville, Seattle (the world's toughest city to minister in), Bangladesh, London, Cairo, LA or NYC - it is the same gospel that must be heralded without compromise. Cultural contextualization doesn't determine the how, why, what, when, where, or who of conversion. That is why I resolutely affirm that:

salvation is solely determined by:
the sovereign electing love of God the Father;
the particular redemptive once for all propitiatory
sacrifice and resurrection of God the Son;
and the regenerating ministry of God the Holy Spirit.

-and-

"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? 
And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? 
And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 
And how are they to preach unless they are sent? 
As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet 
of those who preach the good news!” 
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 
“Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 
So faith comes from hearing, 
and hearing through the word of Christ." 
-Romans 10:14-17



Contextualize this:
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." -Ephesians 2:1-3

"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." -Titus 3:4-7


Updated

Professor John Murray spoke out against this trend of relevance, found in his "Collected Writings of John Murray, v1":
__________________

"A great deal is being said nowadays about the necessity of relevance, and in certain circles it is being asserted that the scripture as it was understood by Christians in the first century is not relevant to modern man; that, conditioned as he is to the scientific worldview, it is impossible to accept the framework in which the New Testament is cast. It is not to be denied that the gospel proclaimed must be relevant, that it must be presented to men where they are, and meet their needs in the situations in which they find themselves. But one thing must be said. It is only by the proclamation of the whole counsel of God, particularly regarding sin, misery, and the judgment of God, that men will discover where they are and begin to assess their need.

Much of the plea for relevance proceeds on the premise that what men assess as their need, and demand for the satisfaction of this need, is that to which the gospel must be adjusted. The result is that the solution proposed and the message proclaimed are accommodations to humanly conceived and framed demands.

There is the basic fallacy that men apart from the conviction created and conditioned by law and gospel are able to know what their real situation and needs are. It is God's judgment respecting sin and misery that must be brought to bear upon men where they are and where they find themselves. When this priority is not observed, then all presumed relevance is a distortion of the gospel. ...

We must unashamedly and uncompromisingly declare the whole counsel of God, so that men, in conviction, will be made relevant to the gospel. This is the relevance Reformation requires and it is the relevance that Reformation will bring."

HT: Jim at Old Truth.com

30 comments:

Ed said...

Absolutely. The Gospel does not need contextualization. However, some get accused of contextualizing the Gospel because of their style. As long as we don't confuse style with substance, both as preachers of the Gospel and as critics, then we will not fail.

Josh said...

You might also want to look into what contextualization means...check out the missionaries C1-C6 scale...it's not a question of "do we contextualize", but "how much do we contextualize"...

Jason E. Robertson said...

By the way, Steve, you entitled your post: Piper says it too: The Gospel Doesn't Need Contextualization!

But he didn't say that. In fact, he said the Gospel is universally and absolutely relevant for every human being on the planet no exceptions with barely any contextualization.

Steve, shouldn't your post be entitled: Piper says it too: The Gospel Does Need Contextualization -- just not as much as some think!

:)

See the remainder of my comments on FIDE-O where we were having a discussion on "contextualization" this week.

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

While I'm certain that Steve agrees that the comments above are technically correct, I think what he's getting at is the same sentiment that Professor John Murray spoke out against, found in his "Collected Writings of John Murray, v1":
---------------------------------

"A great deal is being said nowadays about the necessity of relevance, and in certain circles it is being asserted that the scripture as it was understood by Christians in the first century is not relevant to modern man; that, conditioned as he is to the scientific worldview, it is impossible to accept the framework in which the New Testament is cast. It is not to be denied that the gospel proclaimed must be relevant, that it must be presented to men where they are, and meet their needs in the situations in which they find themselves. But one thing must be said. It is only by the proclamation of the whole counsel of God, particularly regarding sin, misery, and the judgment of God, that men will discover where they are and begin to assess their need.

Much of the plea for relevance proceeds on the premise that what men assess as their need, and demand for the satisfaction of this need, is that to which the gospel must be adjusted. The result is that the solution proposed and the message proclaimed are accommodations to humanly conceived and framed demands.

There is the basic fallacy that men apart from the conviction created and conditioned by law and gospel are able to know what their real situation and needs are. It is God's judgment respecting sin and misery that must be brought to bear upon men where they are and where they find themselves. When this priority is not observed, then all presumed relevance is a distortion of the gospel. ...

We must unashamedly and uncompromisingly declare the whole counsel of God, so that men, in conviction, will be made relevant to the gospel. This is the relevance Reformation requires and it is the relevance that Reformation will bring."

SJ Camp said...

Ed:
Amen and thank you.

Josh:
I know what it means brother... And the modern architects of it are more consumed with method than message. I have preached to almost every kind of cultural group on the planet and I have never gone into any meeting thinking how I can adapt the message to appeal to this audience in a more relevant way.

Thank you for your comment.

Jason
Thank you brother for your comment.

I do believe by Piper saying "barely any..." was proving my point. You left out what preceded this sentence you quoted: "so many people make missions so complicated; endless discussions on contextualization and much of it is way over the top in my judgment on some of it."

Piper's emphasis is clear here: he is on target with the message of the gospel. He simply lays it out and is proving the point that the gospel crosses cultural boundaries and is not bound by them. Again, his "barely any..." is saying and implying - it doesn't rest on it nor require it. The only "contextualization qualifier" John even gives light to in his presentation was, "you gotta learn the message..." And unless the Lord graces you with the gift of languages and interpretation to communicate the gospel in a land where your particular language isn't understood, then I agree with him. But that is a far cry from what Driscoll and others are meaning...

Hope that helps a bit more.

Jim:
Great quote brother... wow! That really says it for me. Thank you for helping bring clarity to this issue.

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

SJ Camp said...

Jason
I do believe that you are correct that I am responding to much of the abuse on this issue that is going on in evangelicalism today--Driscoll being no exception.

I do thank you for helping me see that.
Steve
2 Cor. 3:5

Paul Prins said...

Unless you would share the gospel identically with a 5 year old as you would someone in there late teens, as you would someone in old age then don't tell me you don't 'contextualize' the gospel. Yes so people take it to far, but don't think that when Paul wrote about being all things to all people with the hope of saving some that he was telling the gentiles about all the reasons Jesus is the messiah of the jews. It would have been irrelevant to them.

For many overseas missionaries its a matter of understanding how their unique culture and history have prepared them by God for the saving grace of Christ. When you can identify that, then you will see much more fruit in your ministry.

SJ Camp said...

Paul:
Do you have Scripture to support your view of methodology?

I preached the same gospel at Leavenworth Prison; as I have at Reformed Churches; as I have in front of 8,000 gays, transsexuals, transvestites; as I did before the Royal Family in London; as I did to Prince in an elevator; as I do with a check out clerk at Publix, or even my children, etc. I may use a few different life experiences with each of them as I do when talking to anyone about anything in life. But that is not contextualization, it's just being genuine with whom you are speaking and is being personal.

You said, "When you can identify that, then you will see much more fruit in your ministry."

That is an unfounded comment number one; but number two, spiritual fruit in souls won for the kingdom or the spiritual growth of another is the Lord's work brother. You cannot grow the seed and neither can I (1 Cor. 3:4-9) only God can. You can plant and water the seed - but only the Lord can produce fruit. The one who plants and the one who waters is absolutely nothing the Apostle Paul says. Only God who can grow the seed is everything.

Paul, I also don't allow anonymous posting here. I will let your previous comment stand, but you must fill out the blogger profile and activate it to be read by all on this blog. I want to know who I am speaking to and conversing with.

You might say that I want to contextualize your remarks here :-). I am certain you won't mind honoring the rules of this blog with that in mind. Before posting again, please comply or all your posts will be deleted.

Thank you brother...

Preach the gpspel without embellishment,
Campi

littlegal_66 said...

I was composing a comment, clicked "refresh" before posting, and saw that you'd beat me to the punch with what I was going to post (but I'll go ahead & post my comment just as I'd originally composed it):
----------------------------------
Steve-
You commented:
"I have preached to almost every kind of cultural group on the planet and I have never gone into any meeting thinking how I can adapt the message to appeal to this audience in a more relevant way."

Hold the phone...........you mean when you minister in a men's prison, you don't knock off a convenience store or rob a bank beforehand so that you can present the message from a felon's perspective? When you minister on a college campus, you don't throw a toga party, bring in some kegs, and sprinkle your message with off-color frat jokes? When you speak to a group of homosexuals.....well, you get the idea. Looks like ministers like you and John Piper and Dr. MacArthur are just too "radical" for this new-wave, "if you care about my salvation, you'll relate to me" approach to the gospel. Wait, didn't Tozer have something to say about radical Christianity? (And then, years later, didn't some singer/songwriter came up with a tune about it?):-)

Some of Tozer's thoughts on the gospel's cross:

"After Christ was risen from the dead the apostles went out to preach His message, and what they preached was the cross. And wherever they went into the wide world they carried the cross, and the same revolutionary power went with them. The radical message of the cross transformed Saul of Tarsus and changed him from a persecutor of Christians to a tender believer and an apostle of the faith."

Keyword: "radical"---not contextual.

littlegal_66 said...

And just a few more from Tozer:

"The cross of the Roman times knew no compromise; it never made concessions."

"It (the cross) never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. It cares not for peace; it cares only to end its opposition as fast as possible."

"A shallow and worldly leadership would modify the cross to please the entertainment-mad saintlings who will have their fun even within the very sanctuary; but to do so is to court spiritual disaster and risk the anger of the Lamb turned Lion."

donsands said...

"A shallow and worldly leadership would modify the cross to please the entertainment-mad saintlings who will have their fun even within the very sanctuary; but to do so is to court spiritual disaster and risk the anger of the Lamb turned Lion."

This needs repeating, for this could be something that may come to pass. And if our Lord does cleanse His sanctuary with His spiritual whip of cords in our generation, it would be a good thing indeed.
But better than that would be to see a revival and reformation in the pulpits.
Oh to have preachers and pastors like John Piper.
Lord have mercy on us.

Great post by the way. Keep on my brother.

kwilson said...

Sadly, it appears that the video has been removed at youtube...

SJ Camp said...

I just tried playing the video and it worked great. What is happening when you hit play?

Steve.

kwilson said...

It seems to work now on and off. Sometimes just fine, but at other times (as was the case when I first tried it) it yields a youtube message saying it is unavailable. Maybe they are overloaded. I did find it on Piper's main site, along with the complete video that it is part of.

A great brief restatement of this issue. So many churches today are sadly going the opposite direction. They forget that the Gospel is the plain unvarnished truth and that is exactly what is needed. The Gospel doesn't require our help for success...

Thanks for posting this.

SJ Camp said...

SEZ
Here is some very helpful contextualization for you: I don't allow drive-by comments and certainly I don't allow anonymous ones. Please fill out the blogger profile and enable it so we all on this blog can see who you are and respond accordingly. I do appreciate your willingness to comply.

I have deleted your post until your blogger profile is cleared up. But please note, I hope you will repost so that I can discuss some of your skewed, but entertaining comments.

Grace and peace,
Steve

SEZ said...

Stevie,

Oh come now, you delete comments because you can't see what my favorite book is? That's a good way to dodge the conversation, although a bit un-sportsmanlike.

I think I'll pass on the repost invite. Getting into a back-and-forth would involve me returning to this blog. Thanks though.

I e-mailed you, give me a holler!

SEZ

P.S. If I let you see my profile (which I'm not going to do - sorry, Mom's rules) you'd see one of my favorite books is "Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues" by Hiebert. Might be worth your time.

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

I suspect that if we has a chance to read SEZ's profile page (and blog?) it would look a lot more like this kind of cultural contextualization than it would this kind of contextualization. Just a hunch based on similar comments that I routinely get on my blog; I could be wrong of course :-)

SEZ said...

Jimbo -

How did you know Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret is one of my other favorite books? He was quite the contextualizer, you're right. Also something of a mystic.

Oh wait, you were saying that I'm the "other" kind.

Oh well. It is fun to mock each other from the comfort of our keyboards isn't it.

Wait, how did I get back on this blog? Jim, you seem pretty adept at HTML, how do I unsubscribe from the e-mail comments... oh I see it... *CLICK*

See y'all in the kingdom... I mean in the next dispensation... I mean.. umm... not sure how to contexualize this sign off...

SEZ

SJ Camp said...

Sez:
Most people read the rules here. Here are two that you didn't:

4. No anonymous posting allowed. For those who are "confused" about what "no anonymous posting" means let me help you: you must fill out and complete the Blogger bio form on all the essential categories completely (email, blogs, city, state, vocation, etc.) in regards to name: first name only is acceptable-last name can be included at your own discretion. AND, you may only post under one name at a time--no multiple "nicks."

7. No drive-by posting. Say what you will, but be ready to be challenged to support your views and/or claims biblically, historically and theologically; or, simply do not post.

These rules are here to foster helpful and biblical discussion on this blog. I haven't had to gobsmack anyone here in a long time.

You are welcome here, but be prepared to honor the rules and give an account biblically for what you believe. But if you're not up to the task it's ok - you might not be ready to be challenged or discuss your convictions Scripturally yet. That's cool. When you are, consider yourself an invited guest here anytime.

Lastly, I only delete comments here when people blatantly ignore the rules which most credible blogs have too.

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

Jim
You are right on target my brother. I thank the Lord for you and for your commitment to biblical excellence.

I have travelled all around the world for 25 years and have ministered in some of the most destitute of circumstances. But it never ceases to amaze me the smug, flippant tone of the emerging/emergent church.

Keep on,,,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

SEZ said...

I wasn't going to comment again but now my character is continuing to be maligned.

I'm a Master's College & Sem alum, about to be a DTS alum, training to be a foreign missionary. Church I go to is pastored by two Master's Sem alums. Its about as expositional/dispensational/Macarthur, Mahaney, Sproul, Piper, Carson, Dever, etc appreciating/hymn loving/doctrinal intensive/non-denominational/baby boomer friendly as you please, Mr. Camp.

Emerging/emergent is a fad. In five years you'll have the next generational ministry to lambaste as fodder for your high blood pressure.

But in every generation those who would be missionaries and faithful Gospel witnesses are willing to take up the responsibility and hard work of contextualizing transcultural truth into meaningful cultural ideas. I'm sorry that you can't see the difference between a biblical mandate (contextualization) and cultural heresy (Emergent).

Have fun keeping your head in the sand.

SEZ

SEZ said...

Oh, and just so I'm playing by your little rules..

1. My name is Scott Zeller and I don't blog (it was bad for my blood pressure). I think I mentioned the rest in my last comment and you have my personal e-mail already.

2. My Biblical reasoning was in my comment that you deleted. But since you seem to be allowing me to stay for now, again, it was simply that if we are speaking of contextualization in its missiological sense, the clearest of examples is the Apostolic ministry of Paul. We seem him contextualizing throughout Acts, we see him pleading for contextualization in 1 Cor. 10, and we see him confronting Peter for failing to be sensitive to the need to contextualize and therefore presenting a false gospel in Gal 2. However, if you'd like to look at contextualization proper, the entire Bible is a model of contextualization wherein God contextualized Himself to mankind in a variety of different ages and cultures in ways appropriate to those times (e.g. the ten commandments and Hammurabi's code, the use of sacrifices and their similarity to the practice of other ANE religions). So therefore, to make an argument that contextualization is never necessary is really nonsensical. Even if you do not, before you walk into a room, think about how to augment your message to be more relevant to the audience (aka contextualize) you are presenting a Gospel that is a about a God who contextualized (Phil 2), into a socio-cultural context of 2nd Temple Judaic middle eastern late Roman Hellenistic society, to accomplish a mission that would have the mandate of being taken and contextualized to the entire world (Matthew 28).

So, I guess I don't know what you are talking about when you say you don't want to contextualize.

SEZ said...

And the "head in the sand" line was probably a little bit much.

I apologize, I get a little riled up.

Carla Rolfe said...

SEZ,

when you come to someone's blog and address them like you have by calling Steve "Stevie" then calling Jim from Old Truth "Jimbo", and by further statements such as "Have fun keeping your head in the sand." and "Oh, and just so I'm playing by your little rules.." you make several things very clear.

You're more interested in mockery, flippancy, disrespect and contempt, than actually having a civil (even if disagreeable) discussion on this subject. It's a shame too, because it's an important one, and even when we disagree with each other there are some good things to glean from each other's perspective.

You might want to reconsider the way you address people, it will go a long way toward fruitful discussion.

FWIW

SJ Camp said...

SEZ
Glad to see you chose to stick around. BUT, I need you to fill out the blogger profile and enable it to be seen, otherwise I will be forced to delete all your comments. I have had to only do this three other times in as many years.

Good to hear you're not emergent; but your attitude suggests otherwise.

You are really a TMS grad? Wow. Did you know that MacArthur is not at all for the whole contextualization strain of thought?

What do your pastors think about it? BTW, what church do you attend?

You missed it SEZ by a mile on Peter's example in Gal. 2:11-14. Peter was confronted by Paul because out of his fear for "fearing the party of the circumcision" he wasn't being straightforward about the gospel. It had nothing to do with contextualization.

The 1 Cor. 10 is not contextualization but shadow and type. Who was your OT prof at Master's?

God did not contextualize Himself... That is tired old pomo-reasoning. Incarnation is not contextualization.

I will let you attend to your blogger profile.

Stay biblical Scott and keep the tone with charity.

Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Hayden said...

Steve,

Just to let you know we were taught aspects of contextualizing at TMS. Our homiletics professor was adamant about speaking to people 'where they were at'. His name is Alex Montoya and has been at TMS for many years.

Our OT professors all had varying attitudes on contextualization. Dr. Barrick does believe that there is a measure needed in missions, being a former missionary.

All this to say, I do believe we ALL contextualize in some measure the question is, how much? This is what Scott was getting at I think.

By the way, Jason's interaction at Fide-o on this topic is excellent!

SEZ said...

Steve,

If you need to delete my comments, I understand. I feel I've provided more than enough demographic info to assuage your interest, but if not than please feel free to Facebook me. The only reason I have continued to comment here is that you haven't responded to personal correspondence (that and the obvious need to respond to unfounded name calling).

I apologize that my attitude has been offensive to some (Carla, Steve). I think it was my poor attempt at matching shock-value with sarcasm. And yet, I am not sure why my sarcasm is any more offensive than flippant dismissals of honest objections and clear bigotry towards anyone who disagrees (I don't say it your way so I am immediately "emergent"?? Where is the "charity" in that?).

Steve, it seems we are speaking of different things (or at least I hope). If you are arguing that "contextualization" as a concept is not an excuse to water down or change the Gospel message, we completely and 100% agree. However, that is not what you seem to be saying. You seem to be arguing against contextualization as a concept in and of itself and that I must object to.

Since you asked, my pastor's are big fans of contextualization. We hold our services in English to make them more relevant to the English speaking context in which we minister. We try and make our services begin and end on time in consideration of the time-driven mentality of the context in which we minister. We intentionally sing hymns and different songs to jar people away from the Christian-pop they hear on the radio so much in the context in which we minister. We have small groups centered around family to challenge the individualistic mentality of those in the context in which we minister. Really.... we do a heck of a lot of contextualizing.

And I hope you see there that when I say "contextualize" I am arguing that to contextualize rightly, you are organizing how you minister and how you say things to attract people in an appropriate way and ALSO to offend them over the right things.

As far as your flippant dismissals of my scriptural points, I'd like you to take a second look. I noticed you didn't respond to my mention of Acts, but how about Acts 17 (contextualizing the message for Greeks?) or Acts 13 (contextualizing the message for Hebrews?). Gal 2 does speak to contextualization. Peter was failing in his contextualization by contextualizing non-critically. He was simply giving in to the party of the circumcision. Paul rebuked him because he should have realized that contextualizing rightly would have meant taking that opportunity to offend over the Gospel rather than please man. I'm not sure what you mean by "shadow and type" in reference to 1 Cor 10. If you are trying to say that Paul was attempting to communicate a lesson on hermeneutics and typology... um... I guess that may be part of his point... but I think you would be hard pressed to find a commentator that thought that was the main point of the passage. Paul makes his point very clear in 10:23-33 (and his point is not that shadows and types are cool). Lastly, God did contextualize Himself. He acts and intervenes in human history (in our CONTEXT) in meaningful ways (CONTEXTUALIZING). Of course incarnation is different from contextualization (did I say it was the same??). But in His incarnation, Jesus incarnated as someone appropriate to the socio-cultural norms of his time (for prophetic reasons of course). He did not incarnate as a "pomo" (good buzz-word, my friend) because that would have not been very meaningful in the 1st century.

Let me just say this once and for all:

**** contextualization = acting with purpose in a specific situation with a desire to effect maximum impact *****

Why did God have Elijah challenge the prophets of Baal to a fire-on-the-sacrifice duel? Why not have them duke it out on their Wii? Because in that historical context, God CONTEXTUALIZED and showed Himself superior in a way that was most meaningful to the people of the time. I could give 1,000's of biblical examples of precisely the same idea.

Again Steve, I am not arguing for contextualization that results in a false Gospel. I am arguing that contextualization is a fact and it is useless to deny A. that you are doing it (why do you blog and not send out your posts via carrier pigeon?) and B. that we must do it well (maintain the clarity of the message).

To me, when I hear you argue against "contextualization," it is equivalent to arguing against the entire field of medicine because there are a few quacks out there. Malpractice happens, but I'm still going to go to a doctor next time I'm sick. People carelessly contextualize and cause damage to the Gospel. But next time I am in an evangelistic conversation, you better believe that I'm going to try as hard as I possibly can to bring the truth of the Gospel into the context of this person's life in the most meaningful way. I call that contextualization.

Please, please, please, read some missiology (by guys with PhD's, not the dudes planting "holistic communities" in your local bar) and hear them out on contextualization before you continue to disregard this fundamental concept. Recommended: Paul Heibert, Dan Hesselgrave, Ed Stetzer, Christopher Wright, or Jerram Barrs.

Well, if you have read this far and not hit "delete" to all my comments than I have certainly taken up enough of your time. I shall give you the last word on this little discussion because the holidays are upon me and I think I have said what I came to say. I will come back to read should you like to respond to my comments here. Otherwise, feel free to e-mail me at anytime.

Thank you for your time.

Blessings,
SEZ

SJ Camp said...

SEZ
I won't be deleting your comments because you complied with the rules of this blog. Thank you.

In brief here, I don't see personally relating to ones audience as contextualization. My issue is textual/exegetical - not pragmatic, but biblical. As I have stated on this blog and others repeatedly, in 1 Cor. 9:18-23 Paul did not give examples of contextualizing the gospel, he gave examples of contextualizing himself. HE "became all things to all people" -- not the message. And that is an important distinction--not just semantics. That is why throughout his epistles the gospel he gave was identical in almost every situation, but he "fit in" to whatever culture he was in without violating the command of Scripture.

Today that is not the case. Church's are reinventing what church means and therefore what it does based not on the command or standard of God's Word, but based on culture for the purpose of "contextualization." The audience, not the message, is the new sovereign in ministry. And THAT my brother is the concern for me. And I felt, that was the concern that John Piper was speaking of as well.

IMHO, evangelism is not that complicated; speaking to your neighbor is not that complicated; worshipping the one true living Triune God is not that complicated; and going into all the world with the gospel is not that complicated. No need for a methodological crisis on any of those things. Genuine biblical ministry is not that complicated; but can be and is much of the time... difficult.

That is why your examples to me are eisegesis not exegesis. You are reading into them a method of our day, not understanding the life of the Christian in the biblical record. Again, Paul's emphasis throughout the NT as well as our Lord's was not on method, but on message.

Contextualization IS the language of postmodern ministry by those who think themselves as cutting edge in ministry while the message usually takes a back seat in the discussion.

Hope this helps clarify a bit more.

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

PS - BTW, Dr. Ed Stetzer is a friend of mine and we have and do discuss this important subject.

PPS - I notice that you didn't comment on Jim's wonderful and powerful quote from John MacArthur on this issue. I thought it was spot on. What did you think?

Carla Rolfe said...

SEZ,

you didn't offend me personally, but your approach on this topic does make it more troublesome to wade through all the other to get to this:

"Church's are reinventing what church means and therefore what it does based not on the command or standard of God's Word, but based on culture for the purpose of "contextualization." The audience, not the message, is the new sovereign in ministry. And THAT my brother is the concern for me."

That is the issue right there that troubles many.

Paul Prins said...

My apologies on my blogger account not being fully activated. Should be good now (haven't used blogger since google switched the login over).

As for my comment on context, everything is contextualized. No-one can avoid it. The context is merely the wrapper for the truth you are trying to get across. The truth doesn't need to change (though admittedly some people do) but when we take parts of a groups culture, history, or experiance and relate it to the gospel we are contextualizing it.

The apostle Paul did this with the statue to the unknown God, he also eluded (I believe directly to this notion) when he wrote that he will become all things to all people with the hope of saving some. Any Expatriate/Missionary can tell you that understanding the culture gives you a huge leg up in anything. It is a basic communication technique, understanding your audience. I hope that you didn't give the same message to the Royal family as you did to a room full of disenfranchised GLBT, or to prisoners.

The way we set up the message and draw people into the love of Christ is all the context in which we are delivering the message.

I'm glad that the Lord has given you such opportunities to preach His word. It doesn't however prove a point of your effectiveness in communicating the word of God. It was implicit in Paul's comment about becoming all things to all people that this would increase the number of people who came into saving Faith. Hence my comment about seeing more fruit in your ministry.

Josh said...

Responding to a comment that seems like it was years ago...

Steve said:

I know what it means brother... And the modern architects of it are more consumed with method than message. I have preached to almost every kind of cultural group on the planet and I have never gone into any meeting thinking how I can adapt the message to appeal to this audience in a more relevant way.

I reply:

We all contextualize every time we translate the Bible into someone's native tongue. I agree with you that the "modern architects" go way too far often times, but that doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bath water. It's not contextualization that's the enemy, it's wishy-washy watered down gospel. It's C6 contextualization that's the problem, not C1 or C2...read the scale, it's worth it.

-Josh