(Audio of the panel can be found HERE.)
Matt how do people do Contextualization in Dallas?
Chandler: There are churches who say that just because of _____ this does not make you a Christian.
Kevin how are you doing at Contextualization in your church?
Deyoung: We are not known for that. I’m sure we do something even if we are not really thinking about Contextualization. But I hope we are talking to people and loving people and listening to them. I am more concerned with learning my people more than learning the culture. Every time I do illustrations it is contextualization though.
How about you Thabiti?
Anyabwile: Well what does the word mean? I study to be as plain as I can because there are 30 nationalities in our church.
Chandler: I think that is Contextualization. My style and dress are at least what is meant by Contextualization but it can mean more.
Anyabwile: I think that is just communication. We need to know our audience.
Mohler: We need some parameters. We need to not be offensive in the wrong ways. Contextualization came from missions conversations then came to evangelical pastors here thinking how they reach their cities. But we cannot ever think about these things saving people.
Chandler: We have to exegete culture in order to not be offensive. In Acts 17 Paul names the unknown God to reach those in Athens.
Mohler: The issue is when we get into the culture and learn about their idolatry and participate in it in order to reach people. What really concerns me is that liberals do what they do because of missions. They want to do things that will make sense to people. But where does this make sense. The word of the cross is foolish. Jews demands signs and Greeks seek wisdom. The gospel is alien in every culture.
Deyoung: Piper has reminded us that we need to create categories for people.
What book would you recommend people to read on this topic?
Chandler: I would be hesitant to recommend without knowing the person.
Deyoung: Anything by David Wells like “The Courage to Be Protestant”
Mohler: We just need to realize we are all products of culture with so much of what we do but we cannot bend on moral or theological truths.