It’s late at night (so I make no claim for coherence), but my mind is focused on the Gospel and the mission of the church to share it globally. These are not new thoughts, but I don’t think I’ve ever put them in to writing. At any rate, I thought I’d share them here as a means of getting them on “paper.” I welcome your thoughts or comments on this topic.
The Gospel and Missions
The message of the Gospel is not limited to our culturally-influenced understanding of it. We often risk conforming it to our nationality/culture/experience.
For example: I’ve heard people say, “It just doesn’t seem like Christmas, the weather is too warm.” What we mean is – “It doesn’t seem like what I culturally associate with this holiday.” Christ’s birth can and should be celebrated regardless of the climate.
The Gospel itself is trans-cultural. We should be able to share it with clarity and integrity in any culture in the world. The language may be different, but the message remains the same.
Unfortunately, we add baggage to the message. Whatever does not translate from one culture to another is not the Gospel – it is culture. The purpose of missions is not to Americanize people, but to proclaim the Gospel to them.
Why would we not seek to remove as much of this “baggage” as possible? Without changing or hindering the Gospel message, get rid of anything unnecessary, especially that which is nothing more than personal or national preference. Some call this being “missional.” I call it being Biblical.
Christ is King over all nations and cultures and peoples. The Message of the Gospel is that man is incapable of self-initiated, outward change. We must be changed from the inside. Though it is often counter-cultural, every culture needs to hear and experience this. The Gospel is the life-transforming power of God unto salvation. That goes beyond man-made boundaries.