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Communicating Christian meaning
Don Richardson defined the concept of redemptive analogy in his books Peace Child and Eternity in Their Hearts. He explained how, embedded in a culture, there is usually some practice or understanding which can be used to demonstrate the Gospel. Findings these sometimes unexpected keys has been called a gorilla moment.
Of course, the idea was not really new. Jesus used the technique all the time in his story-telling: “The kingdom of God is like ...” Many of the prophets used it too, and preachers down the years. The gospel stories are so familiar to us, that we completely overlook the fact that Jesus‚ method of communication was totally revolutonary, used redemptive analogy within story-telling, and was something very close to street theater.
The concept of redemptive analogy is a part of contextualizaton – that is, presenting the Gospel in terms which relate to the particular culture.
Increasingly, in a postmodern post-Christian culture, we need to employ the same methods in evangelism. The Hollywood Jesus site is employing precisely this technique to illuminate redemptive analagies within current films, as founder Dave Bruce explains.
We believe that using a ‘handle’ or parallel with some secular truth is one of the main keys to using the Web (and indeed other media) for evangelism, because:
- it is meeting non-Christians on an area of common ground.
- non-Christians are not, in general, searching for Christian webpages. But they are searching for pages on almost every other subject imaginable.
Redemptive analogy linksHere are some interesting links relating to redemptive analogy, story-telling, and related themes. Please tell us of others that could be added.
- Create Imternational’s listing of resources
- Behold the Ox of God – Evangelical Missions Quarterly article by Joy Anderson. An explanation of bridges to the Gospel in the Dinka culture of Sudan.
- MovieGlimpse – Looking at recent film releases for spiritual meaning.
- Bollywood films – opportunity for evangelism based on redemptive parallels
- Awesome House and Leadership U find Christian parallels in the Matrix movie.
- David Marshall showing how knowledge of God is universal, and also gives redemptive analogies from Taoism, Hinduism and Confucianism in True Son of Heaven: How Jesus Fulfils the Chinese Culture and Jesus and the Religions of Man
- Lessons from Candles – Spurgeon’s two long lectures filled with illustrations drawn from candles. He gave these lectures to show how easy it is to illustrate spiritual truth through everyday objects.
- Myth matters – why C. S. Lewis’s books remain models for Christian apologists in the 21st century. Lewis bequeathed us a method and a language for sharing the gospel with the modern and postmodern world. If you haven't read the Narnia children’s stories or Sci-fi trilogy, you have a treat waiting for you.
- The methods of Paul – Paul sought to find redemptive analogies when speaking to Gentiles.
- The Worldview Clash – Don Carson argues that in our evangelism we need to confront people with the 'big story' of the Bible.
- What Will A Ministry Designed for Busters Look like? – explanation of why the buster generation is different from all those which went before. “Busters are less likely to accept Christ as their Savior than prior generations. They are the first generation raised without the assumption that Christ is the starting place for religious expectations.”
- Telling – feature article from Mission Frontiers magazine.
- The Gospel for shame cultures: a paradigm shift – are we missing a key way of presenting the Gospel to certain cultures?
- Use of drama – Mission Frontiers article.
- Drama scripts – and other links and resources.
- Paul and the Contextualization of the Gospel – study by Michael Depew.
- Translating the Gospel – very significant and thought-provoking article by Mike Frost on contextualization and communicating the Gospel meaningfully – an essential read.
- The Human Universals of Culture: Implications for Contextualization
– scholarly article from International Journal for Frontier Missions.
- Global Mapping International – Top missions resource which supplies among other things a CD of 27,000 African proverbs, with ways to bridge them across to a Christian application! African Proverbs mailing list is also a regular source of proverbs – check also Rev Peter Addo’s insight into his Ghanain Ga culture and proverbs.
- 10 ways to avoid becoming a missionary
I am reminded of a very funny TV sketch of many years ago: the late (Jewish) comedian Marty Feldman attempting to get good terms from an insurance agent ‘to insure himself against the danger of becoming Jewish’. What terms would be offered, perhaps, against the awful fate of becoming a missionary? OK, we are not all called to be cross-cultural missionaries in person. And the mission field does start outside our front door. Or at the end of our modem. But it remains true that there are still huge needs overseas which can only for the foreseeable future be met by cross-cultural workers from outside those countries. And, err, it’s a funny thing, but there is one gender which seems twice as good at hearing God’s voice, if their numbers overseas are a reflection of it. Mission statesman and author Stewart Dinnen’s short article is just a little bit challenging.
related pages within the Bridge the gap & Using culture menu links
recommended books on culture, including free downloads
valuable online videos about web ministry