Blog Archives

Improving Anselm’s Atonement Theory

Anselm’s satisfaction theory (explanation here) has shaped Western atonement theory. Unfortunately, Anselm’s theology “went wrong” in two ways: (1) Anselm himself overlooked key parts of biblical theology, and (2) then latter theologians misinterpreted Anselm.  Making Anselm More Biblical Anselm’s Cur
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Posted in Bible, Honor, Jesus, NT, OT, salvation, Shame, Sin, Theology, Wesetern

Atonement for Honor-Shame Cultures

In terms of honor and shame, how does Christ’s death atone for sin? This question got answered 1,000 years ago by Anselm, a Benedictine monk and archbishop of Canterbury who developed the “satisfaction” atonement theory. Anselm’s work Cur Deus Homo
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Posted in Christology, Honor, Jesus, Jesus Christ, salvation, Shame, Sin, Theology

Does God Shame Christians?

God’s salvation causes shame. After God atones for your sins, then you will have shame. God wants his people to feel shame.  In Ezekiel 16, God denounces Israel for becoming vile sluts and shameless whores. Then he says to them:
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Posted in Honor, Jesus, salvation, Shame, Sin, Theology

Unthankfulness = Sin. So, Happy Thanksgiving!

The English word “thanksgiving” means food and football. The biblical concept is far different. In honor-shame cultures, the ideology of patronage structures most relationships. This means clients are morally obligated to express thankfulness and gratitude to patrons. The failure to properly reciprocate
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Posted in Honor, Sin, Theology

How OT Sacrifices Saved

What happens during a sacrifice? How do sacrifices work? What was killing an animal in the temple supposed accomplish?Malachi 1:6-2:9 explains the logical underpinning of temple sacrifices. Basically, the priest’s defective sacrifices failed to honor God. The priests’ unclean animals have shown
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Posted in Bible, Christology, Honor, Jesus, salvation, Sin, Theology

How David Sinned with Bathsheba

When David slept with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:1-13), why was that sin? David thought nothing was amiss, “but the thing that David had done displeased Yahweh” (2 Sam 11:27). Exactly why was God displeased? Despite common assumptions, the Bible does not portray David’s
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Posted in OT, Relationships, Shame, Sin, Theology

Resolving Conflict…Without Shaming

This post is part of the online conversation “Leading and Ministering in Honor-Shame Contexts” in April 2016. Click here to read reflections and insights from mission practioners. Have you heard (or personally experienced) this story before?  Once upon a time…a national Christian worked for a Western ministry
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Posted in Culture, Missiology, Relationships, Sin

An Answer for Addiction

What is addiction? How is addiction healed? This new TED talk—“Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong”—connects these questions about addiction to shame and honor (granted, it uses language besides “honor” and “shame” to do so). Research shows
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Posted in Communication, Culture, Honor, Ministry, Missiology, Relationships, Resources, Shame, Sin, Spirituality

Shame & Violence: Deadly Partners

Violence is inseparably linked with dishonor and shame. To better understand these deadly partners, here are two learning resources—a book and a Missio Nexus webinar. Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic (1996) has become a modern classic in sociology. The
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Posted in Culture, Ministry, Missiology, Resources, Shame, Sin

Does God “Slut-Shame”?

Does God slut-shame? (FYI, “slut-shaming” means making someone, usually a woman or girl, feel inferior for deviating from traditional gender expectations, especially in areas of sexuality.) Here are some Bible verses similar to the language of slut shaming:You played the whore because
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Posted in Shame, Sin

Yes, I Do Believe in Sin.

I often hear this, “Your ideas about shame are helpful, but what about sin?” People assume that since I talk about God’s salvation from shame, that I don’t believe much about sin (which is a rather curious assumption IMO). So
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Posted in Culture, Shame, Sin, Theology

Thoughts on Sin and Shame

Recently Doug Coleman asked thoughtful questions about sin in honor-shame terms. Jackson Wu has engaged Coleman’s thoughts on his site (one, two, and three). I greatly appreciate their gracious and constructive tone during this “public conversation,” as they help us understand the nature of
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Posted in Honor, Shame, Sin, Theology

Charlie Hebdo, Being Human, & Gal 5

I happened to be in France the week after the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. Reactions to the events revealed the rather large gap between the cultural values of “individualism” and “collectivism.” Yet, the incident surrounding Charlie Hebdo reveals not only two distinct
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Posted in Culture, Honor, NT, Sin

New book: THE 3D GOSPEL

Learn how the gospel speaks to all cultures. Western theology emphasizes legal forgiveness of sins, but people in the Majority World seek honor or spiritual power.  In today’s globalized world, Christians need a three-dimensional gospel. Learn how the Bible speaks to cultures
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Posted in Communication, Culture, Evangelism, Honor, Ministry, Missiology, News, NT, OT, Relationships, Shame, Sin, Spirituality, Theology

The Disgraced Human Family (Gen 4-11)

After the fall of Adam and Eve, the storyline of Genesis reads like a season of Arrested Development (or any other sitcom about a dysfunctional family) – a series of episodes featuring the human family’s disgrace and dysfunction.  Humans sense
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Posted in OT, Shame, Sin, Theology

The Shame of Original Sin (Gen 3)

Adam and Eve’s glorious and shame-free life did not last long. They sin, and shame enters the world.  (Previous posts on their honor at a creation – HERE and HERE.) After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve cover themselves with fig leaves.  They do
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Posted in OT, Shame, Sin, Theology

Why Shame is a HUGE Problem

Imagine the following scenarios: You have labored for two years developing an English program to reach the community.  When your director visits, he dismisses the purpose and value of the English ministry. You look out your front window, and see two neighbor
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Posted in Honor, Relationships, Sin, Theology

How Shame Breeds Sin

If you Google “shame causes”, the auto-completion suggests ‘violence’, ‘anger’, and ‘depression.’  The reality is shame induces sin.  To address social ills, it may be helpful to address underlying shame.Here are two well-researched examples of how shame fuels sin. In
Posted in Culture, Shame, Sin

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