mercredi 3 août 2005

Answering the questions asked

"If we are to address our Gospel proclamation to the questions that people actually are asking, what would those questions be? The questions... have to do with life now. In tribal African societies, the question is if there is a power that can control the powerful, capricious spirit world. When I was in China, I was impressed that the question was if Christianity can produce a better person and a better society. In India, the spiritual quest is for a truly spiritual character. Each of these questions has a proper, biblical Gospel answer.

What is striking is that each answer to such issues of present living draws upon the fact of Jesus as Ascended Lord. So much of Western theology has been centered on Jesus' crucifixion. We focus on the atoning sacrifice of His suffering and death. This focus answers the question of guilt. When we add to this proclamation the fact of Jesus' resurrection, we add the assurance of eternal life. However, Jesus' Ascension addresses a whole different set of questions and desires.

.... The third event in God's saving work in Christ, the Ascension, often is treated as a sidelight in Western and Eastern theologies. However, for those dealing with current issues of life, it is this third element of the salvation event that has the most meaning and relevance. It is Jesus the Ascended Lord over all creation that is the good news their heart yearns to hear. It is from the Ascension that they proceed best to grasping the implications of the Resurrection and the Crucifixion, just as St. Paul did from his Damascus Road experience of the Ascended Christ."

- Herbert Hoefer, Gospel Proclamation of the Ascended Lord

An interesting missiological observation I came across in my mounds of research. I'm only using the first part of this article, but the author's distinction between guilt-based cultures and shame-based cultures is really interesting, especially in how Westerners communicate the gospel to people who may not have the same understanding of guilt in their culture.

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