If communication of the Gospel is culturally bound, is the Gospel culturally bound?

The Law Firm of Carson and Keller

The Law Firm of Carson and Keller

The Law Firm of the (DA) Carson and (Tim) Keller on contextualization:

“The fact that we must express universal truth in a particular cultural context does not mean that truth itself is somehow lost or less universal. D.A. Carson writes, ‘[While] no truth which human beings may articulate can ever be articulated in a culture-transcending way… that does not mean that the truth thus articulated does not transcend culture.'” (Center Church, 93)

What Keller and Carson are saying here is that, on the one hand, it is impossible to communicate the gospel in a way that somehow transcends culture. As soon as you express the gospel you are doing so in a way that more accessible to some and less accessible to others. You do this through language, use of metaphor, length of presentation, etc.

On the other hand, don’t fall into the trap of many liberal theologians today and make the assumption that because we always communicate to a particular culture, that the truth itself is culturally bound. The gospel is not the product of culture, it transcends and judges culture. The gospel is universally true.

The task of contextualization, then, is to communicate the universal, culture-transcending truth of the gospel in a particular way to make it accessible and understandable to the hearers.

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2 thoughts on “If communication of the Gospel is culturally bound, is the Gospel culturally bound?

  1. Sami Jo Lien

    Hi Steven,

    I hope you had a great weekend!

    I wanted to be in touch as I’m working with an incredible author out of Memphis Pat Morgan in support of her non-fiction book The Concrete Killing Fields: One Woman’s Battle to Break the Cycle of Homelessness.

    In the book, Morgan revisits the early years in her stories of the homeless people she’s tried to help along her way, with and without success, during the five years she served as a volunteer and then as the unpaid director of the Street Ministry, a drop-in/resource center for the “street people” of Memphis, TN.

    Those stories, plus ones of mental health professionals who were invaluable in stabilizing and housing some of her most troubled homeless friends, and Morgan’s personal history of losses, unconscionable mistakes and the redemptive power of the unconditional love are the hear and soul of her book.

    I’m setting up a ‘virtual tour’ in support of her story (which you can see here: http://www.jkscommunications.com/virtual-tour-pat-morgans-concrete-killing-fields/

    I’d love to see if you might be interested in receiving a copy of the book for review during the tour? We’d love to send you a copy to read and schedule a date with you, if you have availability!

    I’d love to work with you!
    Thanks so much,
    Sami
    sami@jkscommunications.com

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