Since the Reformation the good news about Jesus Christ has been preached almost exclusively in terms of guilt and justification before God. However, this approach is finding little acceptance among people whose society has not been shaped by the western mindset. Jayson Georges points out that the Gospel doesn’t merely address our guilt before God and the innocence we receive upon salvation, but also that it addresses the very real honor-shame and fear-power worldviews that are more prolific in the world than the western guilt-innocence worldview. In this brief book, Georges reminds us of these forgotten aspects of the Gospel, shows how to express the truths of the good news in these world-view contexts and explains how these three fit together to create a truly three-dimensional view of the Gospel that will truly set every person free from shame, guilt and fear.
I have been looking at these concepts myself over the past few years as I interact with people who live in a culture that is primarily based on honor-shame (see my blog entry “Preaching the Well-Rounded Gospel”). However, reading this book actually helped me see how, though I am a westerner and am most attuned to the guilt-innocence world view, I often live in a fear-power world. The reminder that the Holy Spirit sets us free from fear by giving us power to live life in the freedom of Christ every day has really affected me positively and caused me to take some risks that I might not have previously.
Each of us who live in this world will be affected by all three aspects of shame, fear and guilt differently and unless we are able to preach the Gospel in all three dimensions to ourselves and to others, we will be sorely lacking in our spiritual effectiveness. Jayson Georges’ book is a great place to start, both for personal edification and also for the encouragement of others through one-on-one or group study. It is a book every Christian should read at least once, if not over and over again.