Contextualization – A Dirty Word?

The Resurgence has an article on a church planted by a man who is quickly becoming one of my heroes: Tim Keller. He planted Redeemer Presbyterian Church, a body of believers in the heart of New York.

His address to the Desiring God conference on The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World is an good treatment of the controversial subject of contextualization. You can find a good summary of his approach here.

Some Tim Keller quotes to inspire discussion:

Contextualization is not giving people what they want. It is giving God’s answers (which they probably do not want) to the questions they are asking and in forms they can comprehend.

'Contextualization' is unavoidable. You yourself have 'incarnated' Christianity into a culture. As soon as you choose a language to preach in and illustrations and humor--you've contextualized. You are 'closer' to some people and 'farther' from others. And it is also right to have a heart for a certain people group and seek to serve and win them over others…It would be nice if non-Christian people would not care about cultural differences, but people cannot be sanctified before they are justified!

I see contextualization is adapting my communication of the gospel without changing its essential character.

So, what do you think?

(8/13/09 - I'm not getting any response on this one. Time to post on something else.)

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Out of a axiom can grow many sub-truths. This would be what I see contextualization as. I often classify arguments in hierachial terms so contextualization is logical and prudent to me.

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