Contextualization is not always Cultural

Much has been written about the cultural contextualisation of the gospel over the last decade. For example, the Gospel Coalition has written: “The principle behind Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians 9:22 to ‘become all things to all men’ is what Christian thinkers call ‘contextualisation.’ Contextualisation is the idea that we need to be translating gospel truth into language understood by our culture.” But I would like to suggest that gospel contextualisation goes way beyond issues of culture. For there are many sources of diversity in the world today and cultural diversity is only one of them.
For instance, psychologists recognise that apart from cultural differences, it is important to recognise gender, age, education, personal history, family history, political leanings, personality type, and a host of other differences when working with people. Why can the church not recognise this too?

In my own experience I have found personality type is a much underrated source of diversity in our world and in our churches. In fact, in a world where culture has become a commodity and identity is actively constructed, personality type may be one of the most important sources of diversity of all. And personality differences do result in language differences. So much so, that Facebook can now do a fairly good job of psychologically profiling you just from your “likes” and language choices.

So I think it is worth considering, in a one on one conversation, would you share the gospel with introverts any different from extroverts, or with thinkers any different from feelers, or with intuitives any different from sensors? Would you use different language? Would you like to know how to?

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