From the book’s foreword, by Samuel Chiang (Q&A)
How will this book help believers communicate the gospel of Christ across the street and around the world?
Our neighborhoods, communities and cities are rapidly increasing in cultural diversity. With the arrival of immigrants, international students, refugees, expats, imported laborers, tourists, and sadly even with those who are trafficked, this generation of people on the move has morphed cities and societies into an unprecedented cultural mix. I believe that the basic social values, the worldview, of this generation is different from the dominant Western worldview of the previous five centuries. This presents an enormous challenge to the Church. How must we adjust in living out and presenting the gospel in this cultural melting pot? The content of the gospel of Jesus Christ is timeless, but the way we communicate the gospel requires a deep reset. For generations we have counted on a legal framework for the gospel; this generally works when the worldview of our neighbors and colleagues is that of guilt and innocence—with a binary thinking process of ‘yes and no’ or ‘right and wrong.’ But what happens when the worldview is more concerned with honor and shame? The Global Gospel helps us to thoroughly examine and even redeem the cultural value of honor and shame, which we see both in Scripture, and more and more in our own cities and communities.
Why should Christian leaders read The Global Gospel?
Christianity is no longer predominately in the West. The majority of Christians are now in the Majority World—Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In fact, within a short few years, by 2020, 65% of the global Christian community will be outside of North America and Europe. Plus, the vast majority of unreached and unengaged peoples are in the Majority World. Should we not better understand how the gospel speaks within the honor/shame values of these cultures?
What would you tell a pastor about why this book is important?
Your audience is changing! Drastically! The new generation, the postmoderns, receive, process, and pass on gospel messages differently. They generally do not belong to the rule-centered generation. They are a relationship-centered generation. This places them into a honor/shame worldview—with all the behaviors that go along with that. The Global Gospel helps you understand the values of this generation in order to better connect with and serve them.
Why would teachers and professors of intercultural studies use this book?
For a long time, we have had excellent material about honor and shame from the studies and writings of cultural anthropology. However, we have been massively underserved by the dearth of biblical and theological writings concerning honor and shame. The Global Gospel plays a small but a significant and catalytic role towards diminishing that vacuum. It will be an enduring resource to help students develop a biblically sound worldview. It will help students better understand the Majority World and many unreached peoples for whom honor and shame is vital.
Why would a missionary team read The Global Gospel?
A missionary team may suspect that their methods are not working well. What can be done? The Global Gospel provides a license to experiment. This book can be that field manual to stimulate conversations about new approaches, to reflect on how to do things differently—and trust God for the resulting, multiplying, and lasting fruit.
At one point in the writing process, Werner thought he was nearly finished with the manuscript. But you encouraged him to keep writing. Why?
When I first read this wonderful manuscript, I was left thinking of the implications. When I stepped back, I thought, the reader must be encouraged to move from reflection to action. So I encouraged Werner to expand the material for application and practice. Furthermore, since little exists in Christian literature which deals with honor and shame from a biblical and theological perspective, I thought that with additional material, this could truly be a survey book with a shelf-life beyond just a few years. In fact, I believe the richness in this book will journey with the postmodern generation.
How might The Global Gospel influence the world Christian movement?
The Global Gospel is a necessary torch on our learning and practices. If we can glean just some of the many nuggets of gold which this book offers, and put them into practice, we might just become much more relevant as living servants of the gospel. This book is rich in dimensions to help us share the gospel across many cultures—from the colleague in the next cubical, to the campuses across the world, to the unreached people group among whom we are serving, and into the mega-cities which are upon us in this century. I believe this book is a tour de force. I surmise that many practitioners of various aspects of the Christian faith—whether discipleship, pastoral ministry, hermeneutics and preaching, missions, counseling, and other domains—will find great value in The Global Gospel, and for many years to come!
. Executive Director
International Orality Network
Hong Kong, April 2014