A Few Quotes

A few good quotes on language, culture and mission from an excellent book

I’m enjoying reading Global Humility: Attitudes for Mission and I’ll write a fuller review in the next few days, but for the moment here are a few quotes:

God’s purpose has always been that people receive the gospel in their heart language, worship and pray in their mother tongue. Because language is the key to culture, and all translation is to some extent interpretation, linguistic diversity begets cultural diversity. And this, too, tells us something beautiful about the universality of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As the story of the cross is told in different languages in different places, different aspects of the story resonate, different truths come to the fore.

Linguistic diversity, and the cultural diversity it begets, will endure into the new creation. There shall exist a new creation unity; Jesus’ blood will take these many languages and cultures, redeem them, and make them into ‘a kingdom and priesthood’, not by homogenising but by rendering them one in Christ.

If people receive the gospel in English, not via their mother tongue, it will not displace the loyalties and defaults of their previous identity. It cannot pass into the deepest places in their being. It cannot move them. It cannot change them. If world view is a story, the gospel cannot replace this with a better story whilst it resides in a separate compartment of their life.

That is the task of mission. As Jesus took flesh in order to redeem and glorify flesh, we learn language in order to redeem and glorify language, in order creatively to bring forth praise and prayer and art and expressions of faith and conceptions of God that will uniquely exist in that language, in order to honour and sanctify local culture, in order to point the Church in the right direction for indigenisation, in order to see Jesus honoured in every tongue

The Alpha course is contextual to questions British people are asking, so Alpha week one is ‘Christianity: Boring, Untrue, Irrelevant?’. The first question people in our Muslim city are asking is, ‘Christianity: Western, Political, Imperialist?’

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