Monday, December 29, 2008

Contextual Gospel

Just last month the word "missiology" just wasn't on my radar. If I had heard it, I certainly didn't think twice about it.


However, in the last few weeks a key issue in the 'study of missions' (missiology) has struck me in the face, right out of the blue. It was like I never noticed my own nose. Despite how obvious, simple, and important it was, it was only now I realised it there.


A key concept to mission is to “culturally appropriate the gospel” or “contextualise the gospel.”


But how do you do this?


What I needed to refine was my understanding, belief and practice of the gospel, the “good news”. The news that despite the fact “I am a great sinner, He [Jesus] is a great saviour.” The news that despite my inner mess and my outer application of my inner mess that Jesus calls me home and makes me new.


When we study the bible and derive meaning and application from it (exegesis) it’s important to assess the context of the text being studied (including historical, revelatory, theological and textural context). But to apply it to your own life you must also be aware of your own context in order to apply it.


Why is this of any importance?


I’m glad you asked


Evangelism – telling others the good news.

What are you going to tell them and why? There are so many things in Christian culture that have the appearance of importance where really they are not. Clothes, tradiation, structure, song format, service format, location, aren’t really important. The gospel is.


Behaviour – beware legalism.

The gospel isn’t about making you better but making you anew. Failing to understand the gospel leads one to equate holiness with the external rather than the internal. Hard to be proud when you admit you stand only because of Jesus.