Rabid Contextualism

4 08 2008

Dr. Walt Scalen, assistant professor of government at Steven F. Austin State University in Texas, is exactly right when he observes that “somehow the ‘we are changing the methods not the message’ slogan has so resonated with many Christians anxious to see progress in evangelism and growth in numbers that caution has been thrown to the wind. Assuming that all cultural forms are neutral, almost anything is now ‘worship,’ and virtually any outreach method is appropriate for ‘fishers of men.’

One of the little examined assumptions of the rabid contextualism that is driving many ‘progressive’ evangelical Christians to adopt every conceivable cultural form as a means of evangelism is that cultural forms are considered to be largely neutral. For example, heavy metal music is associated with a relatively well defined youth sub culture. To reach this group, it is assumed that the Gospel message can be carried by such cultural forms as skulls and other death symbols and yet the message remains intact, unscathed and unchanged. Thus, the magic bullet of the New Christianity: the methods change, but the message doesn’t. This idea is wildly popular, repeated ad infinitum on a daily basis by the millions who consider it an unquestioned and absolute edict. From ‘Jesus Mosques’ to reach Moslems to ‘Jesus Meditation’ to reach mystics, there are no limits to which so-called ‘European Christianity’ must be reshaped to fit every conceivable cultural form.”

The entire article may be read here.

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