Contextualization and church planting aren’t anything new. These have been practices of the missional church for centuries. Get better at contextualization by considering the wisdom of our early planting fathers Gregory the Great and his partner Augustine of Canterbury (not St. Augustine of Hippo).
Tomorrow I will be speaking at the Brazos Valley Church Planters Network in Brenham, Texas. Justin Hyde of Christ Church Brenham was kind enough to invite me. I’ll be speaking on Churching the Gospel in Your Culture. Over the course of two talks, my aim will be to help missional leaders:
- To understand the Gospel in light of culture.
- To understand Culture in light of the Gospel.
- To Church the Gospel in the light and darkness of your culture.
Conference 2010 Flyer
There’s been a bit of discussion about the relations between Christ and Culture lately, not least Thabiti Anabwyile’s TG4 address on How ‘Wrongly’ Engaging Culture Adjust the Gospel , which Joe Thorn reflected on, and then Tullian’s recent post on Contextualization without Compromise. Add to this the important new work of James Hunter’s, To Change the World (my copy is in the mail), which Justin Taylor kindly digested for us.
Clarifying the Terms
Of course, there is always discussion and debate on this topic, which reflects its importance. Very often, terms like “culture” and “engaging” are not well defined. D.A. Carson’s Christ and Culture Revisited attempts to clarify some of this, as well as contribute to the ongoing discussion regarding cultural engagement. I will be speaking on this topic at the upcoming ACE Conference in Arizona. As a warm-up, Q has kindly published my review of Carson’s work.
Christ & Culture Revisited and Reviewed
My review attempts to address the heart of Christ and Culture Revisited—an alternative, biblical-theological approach to engaging culture. I’m not sure Carson’s approach stands up in practice (is anyone using or equipping on it?), though its is thoroughly biblical-theological. Although the review relies on some of my previous posts on Carson’s work, it expands upon them in an effort to both review Carson and “revisit” the all important topic of Christ and Culture. Consider it a minor contribution to the major topic. Enjoy!
Culture is everywhere, interwoven in everything, for everyone. Your attire, your values and your behaviors — artifact, assessment and action. Wearing flip-flops is cultural. Driving to work is cultural. Talking on a cell phone is cultural. Going to church is cultural. Covenants are cultural (patterned after Hittite treaties). Your Bible is cultural (a product of Gutenberg’s press). The cross is cultural (Roman torture device).
No one is culturally neutral. We are all enculturated from infancy to grave. To be human is to be cultural, and when Jesus became man, He became cultural. Jesus spoke Aramaic, went to Jewish temples, drank wine, wore sandals and grew a beard. Jesus is cultural and so are you.
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