In the latest issue of the online journal Catalyst Brian contributes an article on Exploring New Language for Proclaiming the Gospel. He opens it up by saying:
The key to developing new language for proclaiming the gospel is learning to listen to the surrounding culture for its prevailing metaphors and stories. It’s not about our creativity as communicators but our capacity to listen and study attentively. Our assumption is that our missional God in the person of the Risen Christ is leading his people into the world on mission. Jesus goes before us. It’s our task to be attentive to the Spirit’s leading so that we may build on what God is already doing. In other words, the new language already exists. It’s up to us to find it, refit it with gospel content, and deploy it. Think of Paul on Mars Hill in Acts 17. It’s about committing to using the language of the street and the marketplace rather than only the language of the church. When we read the Scriptures within their ancient contexts, we discover that biblical authors drew deeply from the prevailing culture in deploying the metaphors and symbols of the day as vehicles for telling God’s story.
He then illustrates this with some examples from the books of Genesis, Exodus and Philippians before finishing with three questions for the reader to consider:
What are the dominant ideals and stories of the people whom God has sent you to serve?
How does the gospel engage these ideas?
What language is already present that can serve as a vehicle for clearly communicating the gospel in your context?
I’m really pleased to see Brian writing on these issues. Knowing the historical and cultural background to biblical texts can provide wonderful insights which fuel our understanding of the Bible and how it relates to mission. As Brian illustrates, it can also fuel how we do mission as well.
Here’s a link to a video where Brian explains his passion for what he does.
He has also contributed to issues of Redcliffe’s Encounters Mission Journal:
You can also read Brian’s blog articles on missional hermeneutics here