I am currently taking a course on Christian Perspectives, and I am not going to lie...it is kicking my butt. Never have I heard so many foreign terms or had so many theological debates. We have been reading a book titled, "Living at the Crossroads" and our first assignment was based off of our reading and understanding. The question primarily asked what the book said was the primary, non-negotiable parts of the gospel. Based on the book the core, non-negotiable part of the gospel would be that “the gospel is the public truth, universally valid, true for all people and all of human life.” The book talks about the gospel as being God’s specific message about the work being done to restore humans and this world. The gospel, is the true story of the world. I have only been in a church for about two years now and as I have been able to travel over seas as well, I have seen the compromise that the Western Culture can play in misrepresenting the Gospel. People may believe that it’s the “white-person life” or that you even have to be American to have Jesus. However, we do see constantly as well about people going out and doing as the bible says to of “making disciples of all the nations”, recognizing that everyone needs Jesus not just the Western culture.
When looking at faithful contextualization, it is good to recognize the culture someone is talking about. In the book, Goheen, the author is speaking about Paul’s missionary time and putting the way a family structure works in that context, during that time, not during our western culture right now. When interpreting the bible, I think that is one of the first mistakes we tend to do, we jump straight into our world instead of looking at the context. It also talks about the three dimensions about discerning faithful contextualization such as creational design, cultural idolatry and healing potential. Right now, I am an International Psychology major at WJU. A good portion of psychology is dealing with people and counseling. Something that I will ask myself when it comes to my major is, what is it exactly I want to structure my major around. I know that I want to go and teach English over seas and spread the news of Jesus but am I doing it in the right context? I also have to look at the way I represent titles, am I doing it because I want the people in that culture to look up to me or because this is truly what Jesus has called me into. I loved Newbigin’s quote about “how can a Christian remain faithful to his or her apostolic identity, bearing witness to the true story of the Gospel, and yet be involved in the public life of a culture that has been shaped by a wholly different story.” (165) Each view has a strong background and holds a lot of power. It is interesting to look at teachers especially over seas that have been there for years and still remain faithful to their own views.