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 …

Improving Anselm’s Atonement Theory Read more »

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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 …

Atonement for Honor-Shame Cultures Read more »

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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 …

Unthankfulness = Sin. So, Happy Thanksgiving! Read more »

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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 …

How OT Sacrifices Saved Read more »

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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 …

How David Sinned with Bathsheba Read more »

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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 …

Resolving Conflict…Without Shaming Read more »

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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 …

An Answer for Addiction Read more »

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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 …

Shame & Violence: Deadly Partners Read more »

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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 …

Thoughts on Sin and Shame Read more »

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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 …

New book: THE 3D GOSPEL Read more »

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