Saturday, July 02, 2005

Foolishness to the Greeks #1

I've begun another chapter in the never-ending discussion of Christ and culture over in the Emerging Leaders Forum and thought I'd post some comments here as well. We are reading Newbigin's 'Foolishness to the Greeks', which begins propositionally with the question "What would be involved in a missionary encounter between the gospel and Western culture?"
As conservative Evangelicals, we are often unaware of the cultural conditioning of our 'religion' and, therefore guilty of confusing the Gospel with the 'American Way'. Most of the time it slips under our radar and, I think, is done subconsciously. (e.g. God always favors the white collar, Left Behind-reading, bumpersticker-touting, WWJD bracelet-wearing Americans who vote Republican....right?)

{quickly moving on before the rants begin...}

First, we have to define culture. Newbigin defines it as the sum total of ways of living developed by a group of human beings and handed on from generation to generation. This includes language (because it is the vehicle for expression and perception), visual and musical arts, tehcnologies, law, social and political organization, and religion.

Of course, given this definition, the Gospel is always contextualized...either consciously or subconsciously. He states that there can never be a time when the Gospel is not embodied in a culturally conditioned form of words. The idea that the 'pure gospel' could be presented as unadulterated by culture is absurd. Bottom line: the gospel is the Word made flesh. Thus, there cannot be a culture-free gospel.

Interesting point from Chapter 1: In Acts 26, Paul recounts to his Greek-speaking critics that God spoke to him....not in Greek, but in Hebrew, the language of his home and heart, his mother tongue. And it is his native language that God uses to convict Paul that his life must turn around, a radical metanoia. What Paul thought of service to God was actually fighting against God.

His native language is used by God to convict him.

I only have one question: Has God ever used Pearl Jam or Metallica or Dave Matthews to convict you?

Any thoughts?


At 9:06 PM, Blogger Jimmie W. Kersh said...

Does it count if I have never heard one song by Pearl Jam or Metallica or Dave Matthews? By the way, I love your deepness!


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