While the gospel is timeless truth, it enters into ever-changing and widely varied human contexts. The missionary who desires to meaningfully communicate the gospel to particular humans needs to understand people and the particular influences-social, cultural, psychological, and ecological-that shape them. Further, we must understand ourselves and the influences that have shaped us, since our own contexts influence how we understand and transmit the gospel message. Therefore, we must master not only the skill of biblical exegesis but also the skill of human exegesis. That task is the topic of this book, the summation of a lifetime of experience and thinking by a world-renowned missiologist and anthropologist, the late Paul Hiebert.
As he develops what he terms a "missional theology," Hiebert discusses differing views of contextualization, social identity and how we view "others," developments in anthropological thinking through the years, and the impact of postmodernism and globalization. Seeking to equip the reader for the task of human exegesis, he introduces a systems approach to the task of understanding cultural contexts, discusses practical and helpful research methods, and proposes the paradigm of mission as cultural mediation. Here is valuable insight for students preparing for the mission field.
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