I hated apples when I was a kid; not when they are peeled and the seeds are taken out. Knowing about cyanide in its seeds added to the distaste. I eat one only when they are neatly peeled by my Mom or any adult allowed to do knife tasks at home. While preparing for our local church’s series on cross cultural missions I was reminded of this apple peel parallelism to cross cultural gospel presentation through contextualization.
There has been so many talks about contextualization (that is contextualizing the gospel message for a specific audience or people group making it clearer and understandable for them). Some people would say it is actiually watering down the message of the gospel. I say it depends on who does the contextualizing and how it’s done. There is always an effective way to present it without bending in or compromising the message of the Cross.
In an effort to bring Christ’s message in any culture there has to be an understanding that it is our to job remove any cultural barrier that hinders the person to receive the gospel. Remember how Paul did away with circumcision for the gentiles. How he skillfully proclaimed and made known the unknown god of Athens, how we acted like a dignitary for the influentials and how he became the weakest of the weak for the weak all in an attempt to win some. God has given us the wisdom to skillfully present the gospel in every culture. We are to peel and to take out the seeds and present the gospel as it is, that way they will realize and do away with what Paul was saying “was Paul crucified for you?” and instead embrace Jesus and Jesus only for what He has done. Happy peeling!