Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Some Questions Concerning Contextualization

Mike Horton wrote a great piece for Modern Reformation recently critiquing the dogma of contextualization with which I hope to interact in subse-quent posts.

(For those of you unfamiliar with contextualization, it refers to the practice of presenting the message of God’s Word in such a way that it will be intelligible to those who are listening. There’s much more to it, of course. Included is the idea that we need to take demographics into account when preaching so as to understand our audience and meet them where they’re at, as the saying goes.)

To kick things off, I thought I’d ask a couple questions to get the conversation flowing:

Can we not say that the categories that contextualizers consider so important—such as socioeconomics, race, and gender—are the very categories Paul insists are now irrelevant under the New Covenant (Gal. 3:28)?

Is there really a one-to-one correspondence between Paul’s becoming all things to all men on the one hand, and our incarnating the gospel to our hearers on the other? In other words, are Jew/Gentile relations analogous to Black/White ones?