Another Question to answer….

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

This question was asked in one of my recent assignments for my Anthropology class. I would like to hear your response to it and to the other question that I got out of the first question.

1)    Is there such a thing as a “Christian Culture”?

My response:
The short answer is yes. Where there are people, there is culture. Most cultures are defined by religion, which in turn makes sense to have a Christian culture. I think the real question to ask is a Christian culture bad? And the answer to this question is it can be bad. “When a person has been raised in one culture as a Christian and enters another culture to bring the gospel, the person brings more than just the gospel. The person is bringing his or her cultural understanding of the gospel and cultural manifestation of it. In other words the gospel has been contextualized in the culture of the Christian” (Grunlan & Mayers 26). Contextualizing plagues the “Christian culture” the most. Contextualized can be defined as doing something inside a system, forming ideology inside a set system. There are all kinds of systems set up, and ideologies inside these systems. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Where it gets to be a problem for the “Christian Culture” is when they cannot get outside the system and be a Christian sharing the gospel. Contextualizing God puts Him in a box that cannot be shared outside of the system that you picked the box up from, the culture that you learned about God from. Naturally this is how we learn about life, from parents, school, friends, jobs, etc…The question is how do we respond to something when it does not fit into our system of context? Can we survive? The problem with the Christian Culture is that often it only flourishes in the culture that it represents, Christians. Outside of that it flounders and struggles to find any meaning because it has been contextualized. Which the message of hope, the Gospel, is something that goes way beyond culture or race, but spreads to the whole world. The problem is when people start to take the gospel to only fit inside their context.

The question that I got out of this answer was this:

The question is how do we respond to something when it does not fit into our system of context? Can we survive?

Thoughts, Opinions, Don’t care?


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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • Joshua Long

    Isn’t it necessary to contextualize the gospel…put it into the context of culture? For instance, Paul contextualized the gospel to the Jews of the diaspora by talking to them about sacrifice and suffering. He contextualized his message to the Ephesians by talking about the humiliation of Christ (they lived in an honor society that was all about competition).

    I agree that we should not interpret the gospel according to our culture. However, we certainly should share the truth in a way that is relevant to the culture around us…that is contextualization.

    It suppose though that it is possible to contextualize in a way that is inappropriate. For instance, we should not share the gospel from our own context when trying to minister across cultures. We must place the gospel in THEIR context so they can understand it.

    A good book on this topic by the way is “Spirit of the Rainforest.”