Category Archives: Contextualization

110. Response to Stiles’ Critique of DMMs

Response to Mack Stiles’ article “What Could Be Wrong with ‘Church Planting’? Six Dangers in a Missions Strategy” I appreciate Stiles’ irenic tone in which he seeks to point out “weaknesses” and give “cautions” for “Church Planting Movements” (CPMs) or … Continue reading

104. A Retelling of the Prodigal Son

Jesus’ parable retold with the True Older Son bringing the Father’s redemption. Luke 15. Every day the son worked in the vineyards alongside his older brother and the other workers. At first, he enjoyed the smells, the connection with nature, … Continue reading

100. Interpretation and Baptism

It is fascinating to consider how a literalist application of Scripture, as evident in the teaching and practice of the Pharisees, was challenged by Jesus and the New Testament writers. The apostle Paul is the premier example of how a … Continue reading

99. Baptism and Obedience

I appreciate the passion for obedience from those who are “Immersionists” and their desire to see that passion reflected in God’s people. I also promote the importance of obedience, but from a different angle. When I was fresh out of … Continue reading

98. Baptism and a Painting analogy

The National Fellowship is considering a motion that would allow those who have been baptized as adults through a mode other than immersion to be accepted as members of Fellowship Baptist churches.  Immersion would continue to be the sole practice … Continue reading

89. Fear, Shame and Guilt:

A Model for developing a Contextualized presentation of the Gospel In the previous articles of this series, I argued that there are cultural reasons why one biblical picture of the atonement may resonate1 with a people group, while others will … Continue reading

88. The significance of metaphor in communicating the Cross of Christ

  Contextualization is Inevitable A 10 year old Canadian boy squats by the bank of a river in Borneo and watches the Prayer Man of the Dayak tribal group prepare the Beranyut ceremony.  The son of missionaries to the Dayak … Continue reading

87. Making the Gospel Understandable

Searching for a Metaphor that Connects “Give me my share of the inheritance” (Luke 15:11). With one small phrase the son callously declares that his Father is more valuable to him dead than alive.1 He dishonors his father, disregards his … Continue reading

86. Contextualization and the Essence of the Gospel

This article tries to explain why a contextualization of the gospel, such as described in Shaping the Gospel Message so that it Resonates, does not compromise the Bible or the gospel message. It argues that one universal explanation of the … Continue reading

85. Shaping the Gospel message so that it Resonates

A Shift in Communicating Salvation There was a pause in the conversation.  My visitor considered seriously the illustration I had presented to him.  He then spoke words that became a critical turning point in my ministry in Pakistan – he … Continue reading

77. The Pastor as Spiritual Coach (Part II)

see also The Pastor as Spiritual Coach (Part I) From Programs to Contextualization Who is to blame: the Congregation or the Leadership? In my responsibility of providing outreach and missions resources to churches, I have come across a curious phenomenon. … Continue reading

74. Influencing from Behind

Every year I enjoy teaching the “Pioneering Church Planting” lesson for Perspectives on the World Christian movement in the  Lower Mainland, Vancouver.  Perspectives is a very popular and highly recommended course for any believer who has an interest in what … Continue reading

67. What kind of God is that?!

What kind of God commands people to strap bombs to their bodies and blow up crowds of people?  What kind of God tells people to drive passenger planes into the sides of buildings?  What kind of God commands parents to … Continue reading

56. Crossing Cultures with the Bible

Three ways to understand the Bible My wife, Karen, heard a message by a young woman with no theological training on Jer 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you….” The young woman spoke of the verse as if … Continue reading

53. Patriarchy and Understanding the Bible

“That’s just NOT right!” exclaimed a woman in a Bible study I was conducting.  The object of her disapproval was Naomi’s instructions for Ruth to approach Boaz while he was sleeping (see Ruth 3).  She was correct in that she … Continue reading

34. Why Am I A Christian? (Part II)

Jesus, No Justification for Sin There is much politically correct rhetoric about Islam in this day of suicide bombers.  For example, political leaders have proclaimed that “Extremism is not true Islam. True Islam is peace-loving.”  Although politically circumspect, it is … Continue reading

33. Why Am I A Christian? (Part I)

Jesus, the Essence of Reality I was traveling down a street in Larkana, Pakistan with a friend on a very hot summer day when we came up to a “T” intersection.  On the sidewalk directly in front of us sat … Continue reading

30. Contextualization and the Lord of the Rings

Contextualization is an important part of missiology.  This is the process of discovering culturally appropriate means of communicating the transforming power of the gospel.  Authenticity requires the missionary to live out the gospel with integrity according to the assumptions and … Continue reading

23. Seeing Through Another’s Eyes

Learning to be an effective change agent for Jesus Christ in another culture is the goal of a missionary. This can be mistakenly reduced to methods of communicating the gospel message which do not reflect sufficient appreciation or validation of … Continue reading

11. Missions and Other Religions

One of the greatest shocks a missionary faces when entering a new culture with the gospel is the discovery that other religions can teach us important spiritual lessons.  I can still vividly picture the follower of Sufism (a mystical philosophy … Continue reading

5.   Confessions of a Failed Church Planter

Karen and I worked in evangelism and church planting for 10 years among a Muslim people group. Although our goal was to plant a church and a number became followers of Christ, we were not successful in establishing a “3-selfs” … Continue reading