More and more missiologists are tired of talking about the gospel only in terms of guilt and innocence. This growing school of thought claims these concepts are “Western.” Writers like Roland Muller, Jayson Georges, and Jackson Wu say that honor and shame—not guilt and innocence—hold the keys to evangelism in Majority World cultures. Are theyContinue reading “Mega Episode: Honor, Shame, and the Gospel With Chris Flanders”
Scripture calls Jesus Christ the Son of God and the Lamb slain for sinners. These glorious names run directly counter to the sensibilities of those belonging religions including Islam and Hinduism. Should Bible translators soften these words and concepts to contextualize God’s word? The framers of the recently-published Arlington Statement on Bible Translation say no.Continue reading “The Dangers of Insider Bible Translations: The Arlington Statement”
In today’s technology-saturated world, we can “be” anywhere—except where we actually are. Place matters. So how can we identify what our “mission field” is around us and know the way it thinks? In this episode, Scott and Alex dive into the book of Acts for answers about worldview, context, and missional living. Remember to share,Continue reading “Know Your Place: How to Identify and Study Your Mission Field”
Missions means doing hard things in hard places. So are English-speaking churches geared towards expats truly reaching the unreached, or does more need to be done? The answers may surprise you. This week, Scott Zeller, executive pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai, reframes the issue. Scott Zeller is involved in regional church planting and theological educationContinue reading “Are International Churches Missional? Scott Zeller on Pastoring Expats”
Missiologists are always talking about contextualizing the church to the surrounding culture. But should we accommodate to a post-Christian culture, or a culture of death like we see in the West today? It’s time for us to rethink the ubiquitous acceptance of the logic of contextualization, says C.R. “Chris” Wiley. This week, Chris returns toContinue reading “Questioning Contextualization? With C.R. Wiley”
What is the difference between folk Islam and orthodox Islam—or folk religion in general and any other major religion—and how can Christians meaningfully present Christ in a context of traditional spiritism? Dr. Robin D. Hadaway joins us this week to unravel these complex missiological questions. Dr. Hadaway is professor of missions at Midwestern Baptist TheologicalContinue reading “Dr. Robin Hadaway on Reaching Folk Muslims”
Throughout southeast Asia, where John m has ministered with ABWE for years, one of the major barriers to the gospel is the misconception that Christianity is a Western or even American religion. Is that true—and if not, how can we counteract that understanding? In this episode, John explains the miraculous story of The Ancient PathContinue reading “Is Christianity a ‘Western Religion’? The Ancient Path in Asia”
“Eastern” and “Western” aren’t just geographic labels—they’re terms that signify a massive worldview chasm. How do Chinese culture, the Confucian system of thought, and Eastern patterns of thought impact the church in Asia? What questions to Chinese Christians tend to bring to the Bible, and what questions should they—and we—be asking instead? Dr. Diane PoythressContinue reading “How Do Chinese Christians Think? Diane Poythress on the Church in Asia”
We often talk about the state of theology in the American church, but what about on the mission field? In this episode, Mark Tatlock, president of The Master’s Academy International (TMAI), explains why there is reason for rejoicing but also much concern—and how the root of many heresies overseas can be traced to a gradualContinue reading “The Tragic Fruit of Liberalism in Missions: Mark Tatlock Explains”
Can you identify as “socio-culturally Muslim” while still following Christ—and making disciples? That question lies at the heart of the Insider Movement methodology. In this episode, Matt Bennett joins to offer definitions and explain the dangers of the Insider Movement and provide practical guidance for pastors and missionaries navigating these controversial waters. Dr. Matthew BennettContinue reading “Insider Movements: Definitions and Dangers With Matthew Bennett”
Biblical authority is under attack. A missionary’s job is partly to make the transcendents truths of God’s word understandable within human language, context, and culture. But is it possible to know God’s objective truth, or are we always “stuck” within our culture—making modern missions inescapably colonialist? In this episode, Scott Dunford and Alex Kocman dialogueContinue reading “Is All Theology Cultural? Biblical Authority and Contextualization”
For New Testament students, fewer topics are more frequently studied and debated than the relationship between faith and works in the book of James and the letters of Paul. The question “how are we justified?” isn’t just a question asked in churches and seminaries—it’s also a vital question that relates to how we do missions.Continue reading “What Missionaries Need to Know About the Faith and Works Debate: Chris Bruno on Justification and the Missiology of Paul and James”
When we consider unreached and unengaged people groups, we typically think of them as knowing nothing at all of God. But a biblical theology of natural revelation and common grace drives us to a deeper understanding of the fact that all human beings are surrounded by the visible glory of God—and it’s precisely this factContinue reading “How Much Do the Unreached Know? Natural Revelation and Evangelism”
When we think “missions,” we tend to think jungles, tribes, animism, strange languages, and thatched roofs. That impression isn’t always accurate. But for veteran missionary and legendary mobilizer Brad Buser, that’s exactly what he experienced. In this episode, we pick Brad’s brain about the importance of tribal missions and long-term, patient language acquisition and contextualization.Continue reading “Brad Buser on Tribal Religion, Contextualization, and Disciple-Making Movements”
Everybody talks about “engaging culture.” Culture is a slippery concept. When should missionaries break from their host culture, and when should they bend with it? Is missions mainly about creating countless contextualized Christianities across various cultures, or is it also about assimilating believers into one overarching Christian culture? We discussed these issues with Dr. KennethContinue reading “Culture: When to Bend, When to Break—Kenneth Nehrbass Explains”
Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake comes from a Sunni Afghan background, dabbled into New Age mysticism, and found herself surrounded by Roman Catholics in Mexico—and it’s there that God brought her face-to-face with an evangelical Christian and the biblical gospel. Now, she draws on her rich cultural experiences to help Muslim refugees and expats realize that theyContinue reading “Breaking Down Cultural Walls to Reach Muslims: Mariya Dostzadah’s Story”
What does it mean to be “missional”? We asked David Doran Jr., church planter in Lincoln Park, Michigan, an urban center in the Detroit metroplex, how thinking like a missionary has helped him reach with the gospel different communities just a stone’s throw from where he himself grew up. The result was a powerful chatContinue reading “How to Think Like a Missionary: David Doran Jr. on Missional Living”
Today we’re taking a break from our regular interview lineup to address the recent death of missionary John Allen Chau. In his final letter before being arrowed to death by the hostile North Sentinelese islanders, Chau penned, “It’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people.” As we mourn Chau’s loss, how should discerning ChristiansContinue reading “John Chau: Missions, Methodology, and Martyrdom”
Of all the world’s religions that are likely to stump Western Christians, Hinduism tops the list. How can Christians make sense of Hinduism’s millions of deities, belief in reincarnation, denial of human suffering, and rigorous caste system? Better yet—how can Christians reach those who hold to such a worldview?
Should Christians read books the Qur’an—and if so, how? What about other religious texts? To help us answer those questions, we asked is Matthew Bennett, an experienced missionary who served in the Middle East, now instructor of missions and theology at Cedarville University.
How can Christians in the West remain faithful to their convictions and winsomely engage their postmodern neighbors? Karen Swallow Prior, English professor, author, pro-life activist, and writer published everywhere from The Atlantic to The Gospel Coalition joins us to share her insights. She explains why postmodernism isn’t necessarily the bogeyman we all think it is, and how humbly engaging literature can help us learn foreign cultures—and our own.
Today in missions there’s a lot of talk about contextualization. The “C scale” developed by John Travis makes a case for so-called insider movements—professing believers in the Islamic world who follow Jesus, yet remain culturally and religiously Muslim. Is that biblical? How can we adapt the gospel to new cultures—and how far is too far?