When Your Missiology Misses the Gospel

Micah Fries | July 7, 2016


What do you think of when you consider a church that contextualizes the gospel? 

Maybe you think of some uber-contemporary worship service with a pastor arrayed in trendy fashions and a band with just the right blend of tattoos, skinny jeans, and facial hair. “Contextualization” equals “cool.” Or so we seem to think. 

But what if that perception misses the point completely? What if equating contextualization with the coolest version of ourselves actually contradicts biblical contextualization altogether?

Perhaps our poor assumptions about contextualization are why many view the concept as a perversion of the gospel. But this view fails to see that contextualization is found all across Scripture. Even the traditionalist pastor who preaches against contextualization while leading a congregation of formally dressed hymn-singers contextualizes the gospel. 

In light of this observation, I’d like to commend an understanding of contextualization shaped by God’s Word.

Missiology of License

It is vital to pay careful attention to the gospel and to develop a robust theology and a sharp ecclessiology. Yet these efforts should not come at the expense of a gospel-shaped missiology. 

First Corinthians 9 outlines a biblical theology of contextualization. Paul describes all the freedoms available to him: the freedom to take a wife and a salary, and to eat and drink. Yet he doesn’t admonish them to celebrate these freedoms. Rather, he points out that he voluntarily restricts himself…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/when-your-missiology-misses-the-gospel.