Gospel Contextualization

Using the hermeneutical spiral, evangelicals have been seeking to avoid either extreme on a spectrum described by Richard Lints in his book The Fabric of Theology. At one end of his spectrum is a cultural fundamentalism that believes we can read the Bible and express its theology in culture-free, universal terms; at the other end is a cultural relativism that holds “that the Scripture can have no other meaning than that which is permitted by the conceptuality of the present-day situation.” Tim Keller, Center Church. p. 105

Ultimately, those of us who are trying to find the sweet spot on this spectrum have to accept and reject certain forms and artifacts of culture. It would be wise, as we do so, to continually, and explicitly state two truths: God’s Word is authoritative (as the spiral metaphor suggests), and the gospel challenges even the forms we deem appropriate.


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