WolfHawke.com is a collection of short stories and musings on faith, Christianity, philosophy, and life.

Pondering the Master

One of the sites I have subscribed to is honorshame.com, which aims to help us western Christians express the Gospel to people who have a more honor-shame perspective on life. In general, cultures fall into one of three fundamental worldviews: honor and shame, power and fear, justice and guilt. We tend to preach the Gospel in the way that is most comfortable to our culture (the Christianized west is mostly justice-guilt) and that is not always how people from other cultures can initially relate to the Gospel. So we must take a different approach. Honorshame.com has a great chart of how Gospel can be preached according to each of these worldviews (you’ll have to subscribe to the site to access it, though). That being said, in my musings about how to present the Gospel I have come to the conclusion that we are called not to preach the Gospel as the justice-guilt or honor-shame or power-fear Gospel, but as the well-rounded Gospel, because the Gospel encompasses all three views of the world, not just the one that your culture prefers; and unless we grasp all parts of this Gospel, we cannot live it out its fullest.

Consider Colossians 2:13-15, which expresses all three facets of the Gospel: “And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him [giving us the honor of life instead of our deadly shame] and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross [satisfying justice and removing our guilt]. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; He triumphed over them by Him [showing His power over fear, which is what the rulers use to control us].” (HCSB)

The Gospel is like a house with three doors. We take our friends through the door that they will understand best, but then, once inside, we show them the full plan of God. Understanding justice and guilt explains why Jesus had to die to save us (Rom. 6:23). Understanding honor and shame explains why God goes to such lengths to reconcile us and our new position before him, holy and dearly loved in the Beloved (see Eph. 1). Understanding power and fear helps us know that He provides the power to live a fearless, godly life (Php. 4:13; 2Ti. 1:7). We must understand and apply all of these facets to live a life fully pleasing to God; and we must preach all of these facets without overemphasizing one or the other to help others attain that same lofty goal.

Image credit: "Red Doors Three" by Sarah Loat (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Search WolfHawke.com

Search form

From Wolfhawke’s Reading List

Lord Patrick Kinross

New York: Morrow, 1965.