Why You Can’t Just ‘Give Them the Gospel’


Today’s post comes to us from Sam Chan for ChristianityToday.com.

Christians believe that the gospel is universal and normative for all peoples at all times and in all places.

But we often forget that the gospel is not acultural, as if it hovers above culture and is devoid of any culture. Instead, the gospel is deeply enculturated. That is why we have to explain the Bible’s culture whenever we give a story or talk from the Bible. Whenever we teach the Bible to children or newcomers, we often begin with the phrase, “In their culture . . .”

Even the Son of God became enculturated. When John says “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” he is saying that the second person of the Trinity became a first-century Jewish male who lived in Roman-occupied, Second Temple Palestine and grew up in a working-class family. To understand the gospel, we need to understand its culture. We need to do cultural hermeneutics.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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