Blog Archives

The Problem of “Grace” in English Bibles

All Bible translations face a problem—the cultural gap between the Bible and contemporary readers. English words evoke Western assumptions and values that are unlike those of biblical writers. The word “grace” (Greek: charis) is a good example of this problem of
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Posted in Bible, Culture, Theology, Wesetern

8 Tips for Doing “Honor-Shame Theology”

How can we develop an “honor-shame theology” for today? How might be better explain the gospel in honor-shame contexts? Here are 8 practical tips to help you better utilize honor-shame in global ministry. This post summarizes part of my plenary
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Posted in Honor, Resources, Shame, Theology

Communion, from an Honor-Shame Perspective

God is the “King of Glory.” God does not have honor. He is honor. Glory radiates from his very being. He is the One who bestows and grants honor upon us. God is the only source of honor. David says,
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Posted in Bible, Honor, Jesus, NT, salvation, Shame, Theology

The Honor-Shame Paraphrase

Reading the Bible across cultures can be difficult; however, the task is certainly not impossible. With cultural awareness, people today can accurately interpret the Bible by bridging the cultural gap between our world and the biblical world. The Honor-Shame Paraphrase
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Posted in Bible, Culture, NT, OT, Theology

The Problem with Bible Translations: Your Culture

Anyone who reads the Bible today faces an unavoidable fact—Scripture was originally written in and for a culture different than our own culture. This makes the Bible difficult to understand. Consider the meaning of these words: He whistled at her,
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Posted in Bible, Communication, Culture, NT, OT, Theology, Wesetern

Exposing the Truth about Honor and Shame: The 4 Dimensions Christians Must Understand

This article, co-authored with Jackson Wu, was originally posted at Christianity Today on Ed Stetzer’s blog (Feb 16). Shame is getting exposed, finally. Commentators now observe how Western culture, especially the millennial generation, is becoming more shame-prone. Consequently, more Westerners are
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Resources, Shame, Theology

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

Can You Shame God?

Can you shame God? The biblical answer is yes. Though this may initially sound sacrilegious, the fact that people shame God pervades scripture and profoundly impacts your relationship with God. People despise and scorn God. In other words, we fail to
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Posted in Bible, Honor, NT, OT, Shame, Theology

Super Duper “Unashamed”

Last year Christian publishers released 4 books titled “Unashamed.” These are Christian efforts to speak to a popular topic in Western culture—the longing to be free of shame and to “be myself.”  While inspiring and encouraging, these books assume the distorted, Western
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Posted in Culture, ethics, Resources, salvation, Shame, Spirituality, Theology, Wesetern

4 Benefits of Learning about Honor & Shame

Why learn about honor and shame? Here are four benefits.1. HermeneuticsI once saw a Turkish person read Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15). He read the opening verse about the son asking for his inheritance, closed the Bible, and declared, “That
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Posted in Bible, Communication, Honor, Relationships, Resources, Shame, Spirituality, 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

Shame & Honor—Are They “New” Ideas?

Sandra Freeman has served with her husband in Botswana since 2001 doing discipleship and business mentoring. She blogs at “Edge of the Kalahari.”Someone recently expressed concern about honor and shame, saying they are normally cautious about new ideas. I agree it
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Posted in Bible, Theology

3 Tips for Evangelism in Honor-Shame Cultures

A conversation with a young Central Asian Muslim changed my theology forever.We were having a conversation about God, and there was an open door to share the gospel, so I said something like, “Your sins make you guilty before God,
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Posted in Culture, Evangelism, Jesus, Ministry, Missiology, Relationships, Theology

New Book: Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures (IVP)

My latest book Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures: Biblical Foundations and Practical Essentials (InterVarsity Press) is now available.This 270-page book equips Christians to proclaim and embody the gospel in honor-shame contexts. Our aim was simple: to show how honor-shame is central
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Posted in Bible, Honor, Ministry, Missiology, NT, OT, Resources, Shame, Theology

Sarah & Hagar: A Struggle for Honor

Dr. Marvin J. Newell is Senior Vice President of Missio Nexus, a network that connects evangelical mission agencies, churches and training centers across North America. He served over two decades in Indonesia and teaches at Moody and Western. This article
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Posted in Bible, OT, Theology

The 3 Kinds of Honor

The three types of honor are bad honor, good honor, and eternal honor. People use the same word “honor” for all three, and this causes confusion. Failing to note the three kinds of honor affects our discipleship and theology. So here
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Posted in Communication, Culture, Evangelism, Honor, Theology

How Honor Baffled (& Awed) C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis preached “The Weight of Glory” in 1942. In this sermon he speaks personally about his understanding of the biblical promises of honor and glory. Here are 4 phases of his theology.1. C.S. Lewis saw honorOne can hardly read the
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Posted in Culture, ethics, Honor, Theology

How Trump Thinks Like Jesus

Jesus Christ and Donald Trump share a remarkable similarity—they both promise honor. What is “honor”?Honor is essentially status or respect in a community. Such honor comes about in two ways—inclusion and exaltation. The campaign of Donald Trump and gospel of Jesus Christ
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Posted in Culture, In The News, Jesus, salvation, Shame, Theology

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