- Publisher: William Carey Library (December 4, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0878086293
- ISBN-13: 978-0878086290
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One Gospel for All Nations*: A Practical Approach to Biblical Contextualization Paperback – December 4, 2015
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Dean Flemming, PhD professor of New Testament and Missions, MidAmerica Nazarene University author of Contextualization in the New Testament
In Wu's book, we get not only theory about contextualization but a practical model for working out the most significant theme in the Bible: gospel. Entering into this book is to enter into recent biblical discussions about the gospel and missiology's theories about contextualization. Wu even takes us to the heart of the matter when he shows what gospel looks like in the Chinese culture.
Scot McKnight, PhD professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary author of The King Jesus Gospel
Michael Goheen, PhD, Director of Theological Education, Missional Training Center, Phoenix, author of The Drama of Scripture
One sign of an excellent book is the number and variety of people with whom one is eager to share it. Again and again as I read One Gospel for All Nations, names of colleagues came to mind.... In short, I would commend this book to anyone who wants to understand the Bible more fully or to communicate its message more clearly to others, locally or internationally. For those working in honor/shame cultures in particular, Wu's work is essential reading.
David W. Bennett, DMin, PhD chief collaboration officer and teaching pastor The Lausanne Movement
Wu's book calls us into a serious reflection in the work of contextualization and meaningful presentation of the Gospel. Wu offers a timeless perspective that is both theological and practical. I highly recommend your attention to One Gospel for All Nations.
Rev. Samuel E. Chiang, President and CEO, Seed Company
About the Author
Jackson Wu has a Ph.D in Applied Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, having earned an M.Div (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) and a M.A. in Philosophy (Texas A&M). In 2013, he published his first book, Saving God's Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame. He has worked as a church planter and now teaches theology and missiology for Chinese pastors. In addition to his published journal articles, he maintains a blog at jacksonwu.org.
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First, Wu constantly refers back to the Bible and the overall testimony of Scripture as the foundation for how we understand the gospel of Jesus Christ; this challenges common evangelical assumptions which reduce the gospel to a series of propositions. Relatedly, Wu challenges the commonly understood idea that systematic theology is the apex of theology and Christian scholarship; he calls the reader to re-examine the primacy of “biblical theology” (and its more narrative emphasis) over and against systematic theology (and its more propositional emphasis). One result of this is that the gospel is understood more in the light of the Old Testament narrative, and more than as a series of propositions. He proves this from multiple Scripture passages which contain the words “gospel” / “good news”.
Second, Wu offers a practical alternative to contextualization by proposing a systematic process; this is enormously important. Wu shows that contextualization is not simply an add-on for cross-cultural workers. No, contextualization actually begins with interpretation. I believe Wu’s approach may represent a paradigm-shift for the way most Christians and pastors think about theology and the gospel. Wu demonstrates conclusively—the way we think and do theology is unwittingly influenced by our own cultural values. And the fact that this has largely gone unexamined in the world Christian movement implies an urgent need—both to be faithful to Scripture, and to share the gospel in a way that is truly relevant to the host culture.
Note: Regarding Wu’s proposed contextualization process, I agree with Wu that his approach is practical. This does not, however, make it easy, and he says as much. The book includes diagrams and charts which help to make this contextualization process clear. But I think this material is truly innovative, and thus, difficult to follow at times. I want to reread these chapters in order for this to better sink in. Wu suggests that the process be applied in a theological or missional cross-cultural community of believers. Sounds good. But let’s also realize how unusual and difficult this is. This is where the book seems to point the reader to a standard of theological or missiological practice which seems extremely difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, Wu points us in the right direction and for this he is to be commended.
Third, Wu demonstrates how to meaningfully articulate the gospel for the Chinese cultural context. He uses the honor/shame dynamics common to Scripture and East Asian societies. Wu lovingly and carefully shows how the gospel can beautifully relate to the Chinese context. What is the impact on the reader? I was left with a strange thought: Wu’s contextualization of the gospel for the Chinese culture is actually more closely aligned with the overall testimony of Scripture than any presentation of the gospel I have ever seen before. It is a strange thought, contrary to my Western Christian sensibilities. But it makes sense in light of the fact that the Bible is an Eastern book rooted in the honor/shame cultural values of the Ancient Near East.
Moreover, this gospel-for-the-Chinese context also carries with it additional gravitas for Christians everywhere. Why? Because about 80% of the world’s people are collectivistic (like the Chinese context) rather than individualistic (as in the Western context). Therefore, anyone doing ministry among the collectivistic peoples of the Majority World has much to gain from Wu’s perspective.
I was left with two impressions—humility and hope. This book challenges many evangelical assumptions about doing theology, presenting the gospel, and preparing for cross-cultural ministry. It has the effect of humbling the reader. “God help us! We have so far to go!”
But I also felt a strong hope. How exciting it is to ponder the fact that the Bible’s own honor/shame dynamics are closely aligned with the world’s least-evangelized peoples and populations. This book puts fuel on the fire of the global church to continue her work of blessing the nations through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
One Gospel for All Nations by Jackson Wu shows how the gospel we present can both be more faithful to Scripture and more relevant—perhaps more relevant than we ever imagined.
Wu rightly emphasizes how Paul's model in preaching in Acts is to tell the story of how God is the God of the Old Testament. Even when Paul is preaching to a strictly Gentile audience [i.e. Acts 14; 17], he still talks about things from the Old Testament. When Paul is writing to Gentile churches [i.e. Romans, Galatians, Ephesians,etc.], he still makes many references to 'Jewish elements' of the gospel.
I found it helpful to memorize the four aspects of the gospel that Wu wrote down:
1) God through Christ reigns over all nations;
2) God resurrected Christ, who died for human sin;
3) God through Christ reconciles humanity's relationship with God, with each other, and with the world; 4) All people from every nation are commanded to repent and give their loyalty to Christ as the supreme and saving King of the world
Wu did a good job of emphasizing the neglect of Christians in including the resurrection when sharing with people about the gospel. Wu also talks about how, though no biblical writer or speaker opens a gospel presentation by explaining the fall of Adam, many of us begin our gospel presentations by talking about the Fall of man.
As I also serve in China, it was great to read everything about Chinese culture, and the differences between western and eastern worldviews, and how this affects how people understand the Bible.
I'll finish with a quote I liked about the benefits of better understanding the Scriptures by looking through the lens of other cultural perspectives: "What happens when one does not take seriously the significance of other perspectives? He or she very easily could begin either to patronize or resent those from other cultures"