A look back at an old video of me talking about contextualisation.
Reading the Bible in its own cultural context is for life, not just for Christmas.
When Paul spoke to a Jewish audience, he started off with the story of the Jewish nation, when speaking to Greeks, he worked from inscriptions on statues and Greek poetry.
You cannot impose a language or cultural standards (dress, music, use of time) on people saying that this is Christian language or culture. There is no such thing – the Christian faith simply does not work that way.
Christianity isn’t African, but it isn’t European or American either.
The church’s role is always to confront the wrongs in society and to point people to Jesus, but it must do so from within the society in a framework that can be understood. So different churches in different places and at different times do things in different ways.
What gives those of us who live in the West the right to dictate what does or does not “count” as “real” allegiance to Christ in very different cultures where God is at work?
The Apostle Paul would find a modern British church very strange and I’m sure that we would be equally uncomfortable with a first century gathering somewhere in Turkey.
The hardest thing there is in ministry is getting people to just open up their Bibles. Be a champion for getting people into the Word of God; don’t be a champion for getting people away from a translation.
At first glance, this is a rather obscure book, of interest only to missionaries and other strange people. However, unless you are a first Century Jew, you are doing theology in a context which is different to the on that Jesus lived in. It is helpful to have some guidelines and anchors for this. We all contextualise, the question is whether we do it well or badly.