Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Contextualize. Don’t Merely Theologize.

The context in which we study and share theology must be taken into consideration.

I was a math major but it was my college soccer class that made me feel dumb.

In our first scrimmage game, the teacher told me to kick off the ball. Since I attended school in America, I knew what a “kick off” is. So, I naturally ran up to the ball and kicked it as far down the field as I could to the other team. The problem was that we weren’t playing American football; we were playing international “football” (i.e. soccer). Accordingly, I was supposed to lightly kick the ball to my own teammate, not the other team.

The problem is that I didn’t really know much about soccer. I didn’t know why or how I was supposed to “kick off.” My teacher assumed I understood his instruction. Likewise, we make a similar mistake when we assume too much about contextualization. First, people often assume contextualization is about evangelism more than discipleship (the subject of my previous post). Therefore, people typically assume that contextualization fundamentally concerns how we communicate and apply the gospel.

Everyone who contextualizes the gospel must first know what the Bible says.

What happens when we attempt to do contextualization or tell others to contextualize the gospel? Might we assume too much and so make the same mistake as my soccer teacher?

When learning to play soccer, I needed need an entirely new perspective, not merely a few simplified pointers.

In the same way, we need more than a few principles for doing contextualization; we need to reorient people’s worldview (not merely their religion). Keep reading

Also see
Contextualize. Don’t Merely Evangelize.

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