Category: Theology

posts related to expounding Gods’ word for honor-shame contexts

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Honor & Shame in God’s Revelation (1 Kgs 22)

Martin Munyao (Th.M., Daystar Academy of Nairobi) was a pastor and theology teacher in Kenya. He is earning his Ph.D. at Concordia Theological Seminary.How did God use Israel’s cultural dynamics of honor-shame to reveal himself? As an example, we take the
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The Law is NOT Legal

In the Bible, the “law” is not primarily a legal concept. For Western Christians, their view of the “law” is heavily influenced by cultural assumptions. (Some might call this “syncretism.”)When teaching about the “law,” I prefer to use the original words
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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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How Self-Righteous Judaizers Boasted

The Problem with “Self-Righteousness”The term “self-righteous” is not a biblical term. Yes, the Bible does speak about a type of righteousness that is not of God, but the nature of this false-righteousness is rather different than commonly assumed.Romans 10:3 speaks about this
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How Honor-Shame Cultures Confess Sins

How should people confess their sin? What form should confession take?I was raised Catholic, so the the word “confession” means reliving those experiences as a mischievous little boy shuddering in a confessional booth saying, “Forgive me father for I have
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Redemption. From What?

 What does redemption mean? What are we redeemed from? The biblical term denotes “release from bondage.” Because of our own weaknesses (social, physical, or spiritual), a stronger patron-like Savior must enact our release.HOW do redeemers redeem?In the Bible, people are redeemed
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What the “Hell”?

For a long time, I thought of hell primarily in terms of physical pain, where the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” indicated extreme bodily discomfort. Hell is an overcrowded waiting room with no A/C and people with B.O., right?!? Then I
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Partaking in His Glory (Dr. Ken Bailey)

Dr. Kenneth Bailey (1930-2016) was an MK and New Testament professor who has spent most of his life in the Middle East. His many books (e.g., Jesus in Mediterranean Eyes) explain the cultural and honor-shame elements of the gospels. This explanation of
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Does Christ Impute Honor?

The doctrine of “imputed righteousness” is a mainstay in Protestant theology. So naturally people ask, “Can we say that God imputes honor?” The biblical answer is clear and obvious—Yes! But to explain, a little bit of brush clearing is order.What
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