“The Real Challenge is Not to Contextualize the Gospel but to Textualize People”

mash-upLucas Woodford and Harold Senkbeil, coauthored “Mission and Ministry Mashed Up!” in a special mission edition of The Lutheran Witness (May 2015, p. 9). In the midst of a rapidly shifting culture, they state:

Of course, it’s essential to communicate the Gospel in clearly understood language to actual contemporary circumstances; we simply call this ‘common sense contextualization.’ But we also  contend that the text of Scripture must remain central: we need a clearly biblical and Christ-centered confession for our contemporary world without apology and compromise, saturated with compassionate care for the souls of our troubled age.

The real challenge is not to contextualize the Gospel but to textualize people; that is, to wrap them in the life of the Holy Trinity by means of the divine Word. In a very real sense, faithful proclamation and catechesis is always countercultural; it seeks to remedy the misbelief and idolatry embraced by each succeeding human culture in turn. Two elements have always been critical in the Church’s mission: culturally sensitive, yet pointed catechesis together with vivid, visceral proclamation of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.”

Note: Woodford and Senkbeil have coauthored a book that will soon be published. The title of the book is, Textualization: Courageous Witness in a Mashed-Up Culture.

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