From Cairo to Calcutta, from Cochabamba to Columbus, Christians are engaged in a conversation about how to speak and live the gospel in today’s traditional, modern and emergent cultures. The technical term for their efforts is contextualization. Missionary theorists have pondered and written on it at length. More and more, those who do theology in the West are also trying to discover new ways of communicating and embodying the gospel for an emerging postmodern culture. But few have considered in depth how the early church contextualized the gospel. And yet the New Testament provides numerous examples.
As both a crosscultural missionary and a New Testament scholar, Dean Flemming is well equipped to examine how the early church contextualized the gospel and to draw out lessons for today. By carefully sifting the New Testament evidence, Flemming uncovers the patterns and parameters of a Paul or Mark or John as they spoke the Word on target, and he brings these to bear on our contemporary missiological task.
Rich in insights and conversant with frontline thinking, this is a book that will revitalize the conversation and refresh our speaking and living the gospel in today’s cultures, whether in traditional, modern or emergent contexts.
List of Abbreviations
1. Contextualization in Acts: Bridging Cultural Boundaries
2. Contextualization in Acts: The Preaching of Paul
3. Paul’s Letters: Doing Theology in Context
4. Paul and Culture: Engaging the Greco-Roman World
5. Paul as Interpreter: Contextualizing Scripture and Tradition
6. Case Studies from Corinth: The Gospel, Food and the Future
7. Colossians: The Gospel and Syncretism
8. The Gospels: Contextualizing the Story for a Target Audience
9. Revelation: The Gospel and the Empire
10. Contextualizing the Gospel Today