The key article in lesson 10, How Shall They Hear? is Understanding Culture by Lloyd E. Kwast.
A summary and discussion questions are below:
When missionaries enter a new culture, they introduce the Biblical worldview and often, at the same time, inadvertently introduce their own culture (e.g. American values or behaviors). Initially missionaries and local people seem very “foreign” to one another. A missionary’s message is a mixture of his own culture and biblical truth. Experienced missionaries will learn the local culture so that, over time, the message they communicate is more Biblical and less “American.”
This distinction is important for two reasons, 1) When people accept the message of the gospel and live for Jesus, any change in their beliefs and behavior should be based on biblical instruction not the missionary’s culture. 2) If someone rejects the gospel, it should be because of his rejection of biblical teaching not because the values or behavior of the missionary.
Questions for Discussion and Reflection:
- Describe culture by describing and distinguishing the layers of behavior, values, beliefs, and worldview and giving examples of each.
- If the gospel is true in any culture, why is it important to understand the culture of the person hearing the gospel?
- Is it Ok for culture to change when Christianity enters a new culture? Are there examples of good cultural changes? What are some negative cultural changes? What instruction would you give to a new believer when describing how his behavior should change as a result of his new beliefs?