Sola Scriptura 16
Dr. John Piper expresses his concerns with the concept of contextualization and communicating the Gospel. In responding to a question about North America being a mission field and the issue of contextualizing the Gospel in order to win a hearing he writes:
The concern I have is that I believe the seeker-sensitive way of doing contextualization is having a trickledown effect into missiological contextualization in a very harmful way. And I think it is partly influenced by fear – fear of not succeeding – so that you go to an Islamic people, and they will not use the term ”Son of God” and want to be called Muslim, then you just adjust. You say “Okay, we won’t call Jesus ‘Son of God,’ and we’ll call you a Muslim follower of Jesus.” And if they want to read the Koran, you say, “Okay, you read the Koran. That’s a good, holy book, but be sure you read the Bible also.” That sounds so chic and American. And so foreign missions can be undermined both ways: (1) just forget that they’re there, or (2) go with a compromised message or a view of contextualization that is driven by fear, because you could get yourself poisoned. (Here We Stand 161)
Dr. Piper continues by stating:
As I read the New Testament and the radical Jesus that we serve, what’s so mind-boggling to me is that some of the main Emergent leaders talk about how Jesus has been domesticated by the church, and they want to recover the “radical Jesus.” In my judgment, the Jesus they’re recovering is not radical. There is no radical Jesus without hell. Everything becomes Milquetoast without the wrath of God. He came into the world to rescue us from the most horrid thing in the world. And once you get that straight, then having your head chopped off is minor. It’s minor because we don’t fear those who can kill the body and after that have nothing more that they can do. Who talks like that today in America? “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). If you strip that away from Jesus, he’s a local guy. He’s just no big deal. (Here We Stand 161).
Is there any way post-modern cultural contextualization can compliment a commitment to Sola Scriptura and not be a detriment? Yes there can be a complementary relationship and doing so requires the Biblicist to remain committed to Sola Scriptura, which therefore frames his philosophy in sharing the Gospel. The directive is found in I Corinthians 9:19-23 states:
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. (NKJV)