Book Plunge: One Gospel For All Nations

What do I think of Jackson Wu’s book published by the William Carey Library? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Would you like to hear the good news of the Gospel? You would? Okay. Long ago our ancestors Adam and Eve disobeyed God and were banished from His presence. In order to bring us back, God sent His Son to us. He lived among us and died on a cross, but God raised Him from the dead and all who believe on Him can find forgiveness in His name.

Such is the way that a Gospel presentation can usually go. Now of course, when presenting the story of the Bible, one cannot give a full presentation of everything in the Bible, but isn’t it amazing how much is left out of this? Where is the history of Israel in this presentation? Does Israel have no purpose in God’s story? Where is the mention of Jesus being a king? You can see Him as savior, but will you see Him as King?

Jackson Wu is a Chinese scholar who writes about how to interact with Scripture in a more practical way to present the Gospel to all nations. After all, such an approach might work fine here in America to an extent (And that extent is lessening), but go to a more Eastern mindset and you could find it less effective. Wu primarily shows his own people of China as a different culture that contrasts heavily with our modern Western culture.

In doing so, Wu takes us back to Scripture and says we must look for the themes of covenant, creation, and kingdom. Whenever the Gospel is presented, we will find something of this there. You might not find all the themes, but you will find at least one of the themes.

This means also that when we go to another culture, that we can see how they interact with Scripture and find grounds of agreement first. We can disagree with the Marxist ideologically for instance, but could we find something we can agree on? We can agree with the desire to find a perfect society together. We can agree with the idea of removing distinctions that separate people. We can then show that these are also part of the new covenant in Christ.

The book also contains some interesting insight into Chinese culture where the goal is often to save face. How you look to the people around you means everything and if you don’t have a good reputation, it is as if you were already dead. There is also emphasis on how one treats their family, especially their parents. Picture going to this culture with the Gospel of the man who talks about how He must be more important to you than your own family and suddenly those ideas take on a whole new meaning.

Wu’s approach is contextualization. It means that we don’t just read the Scripture at face value alone, but try to interact and see the culture behind the Scripture as well. An honor-shame context is a better approach to understanding the Bible and as Wu shows by an example of Chinese culture, is still very much active in the world today.

Wu’s book is an excellent resource for missionaries or for anyone serious about evangelism. After all, to do missionary work today, you don’t have to go to another country. You can find people of another culture in our own neighborhood and you can turn on your computer and find people of a different culture. Wu’s book is one to read to better understand how Scripture and culture should interact together.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Japanese People Love Jesus

How far has the gospel reached? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

My mother-in-law recently got an IPhone and thus, no longer needs the ITouch that she’d got for Christmas. She sent it to my wife instead. Now my wife, Allie, has a love for most everything Japanese, except their food. She can’t stand their food. One app she downloaded was a Japanese radio app. She was surprised to find a Christian station on there and one that included hymns. Allie doesn’t care for hymns too much, but she knows that I love them.

So last night as we’re going to sleep we hear these Japanese singers singing hymns and I am just moved with amazement. Japan is a religious country in many ways and a highly technological country, but Christianity does not have too much of an impact there sadly. It’s because of my wife’s great love for the country that we pray God will bring the gospel there every night and we’d love to get to be a part of that somehow. (I have this great dream still that someday I’m going to get to take my wife to Japan.)

The weddings in Japan are usually Christian, but births and deaths are more done in Shinto and Buddhist style. It’s not the case that Christianity is unheard of. It’s just not ranked well, although there actually are Japanese seminaries which makes me glad to know that even there, young ministers are training for the gospel.

It’s also an honor based system which would make it even harder to go outside of one’s family lines and take on a different religion. I heard these singers last night and thought that these people are getting no recognition most likely for what they do. Many of our singers in even Christian music today can go on concert tours and be recognized. Probably not so over there. I wonder how a radio station supporting hymns and other Christian music even stays open.

But what’s incredible the most about this? They love Jesus. I just thought last night about how cool it is that in this country out in the ocean so far away in time and space from where the story of Jesus took place, that there are several people who love Jesus. As Allie pointed out, they probably love him more than many of us do, and their great reason could be that they sacrifice so much more to love Him.

Often times, skeptics of Christianity tell me that if God wanted to get His message out, He chose a poor way to do it. Yes. It’s a way that’s so poor that here, 2,000 years later, in our own neck of the woods (Here in America at least), greatly separated by time and space, we are still talking about this subject constantly to this day. It was such a bad method that today in America, there are numerous people who would be willing to die for Jesus at this moment and you’ll find millions more, if not billions more all over the world.

Some you’ll even find in Japan.

Because some Japanese people love Jesus. How cool is that?

In Christ,
Nick Peters