From Cairo to Calcutta, from Cochabamba to Columbus, Christians are engaged in a conversation about how to speak and live the gospel in today’s traditional, modern and emergent cultures. The technical term for their efforts is contextualization. Missionary theorists have pondered and written on it at length. More and more, those who do theology in the West are also trying to discover new ways of communicating and embodying the gospel for an emerging postmodern culture. But few have considered in depth how the early church contextualized the gospel. And yet the New Testament provides numerous examples.
As both a cross-cultural missionary and a New Testament scholar, Dean Flemming is well equipped to examine how the early church contextualized the gospel and to draw out lessons for today. By carefully sifting the New Testament evidence, Flemming uncovers the patterns and parameters of a Paul or Mark or John as they spoke the Word on target, and he brings these to bear on our contemporary missiological task.
Rich in insights and conversant with frontline thinking, this is a book that will revitalize the conversation and refresh our speaking and living the gospel in today’s cultures, whether in traditional, modern, or emergent contexts.
If you like this resource be sure to check out IVP New Testament Studies Collection (14 vols.).
An outstanding and needed book in which Flemming wrestles with New Testament contextualization from the position of deep engagement with New Testament scholarship. He brings to the table the right instinct for missiological issues together with the depth of New Testament study that missiologists are often lacking. This is a must read!
—Scott Moreau, Editor, Evangelical Missions Quarterly
This is the mature work of a careful and caring teacher who has worked in the Philippines as well as in Europe and is well-qualified to handle the questions of how to set the Bible free to speak to different audiences and how we can follow the example of the first missionaries in the settings in which we find ourselves. This is a fine example of biblical scholarship serving the church in its task of holding fast to the apostolic gospel while presenting it in a sensitive, contextualized manner to our contemporaries.
—I. Howard Marshall, Honorary Research Professor of New Testament, University of Aberdeen
Dean Flemming (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is a lecturer in New Testament at European Nazarene College in Buesingen, Germany. An experienced missionary educator, he formerly taught at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in the Philippines (1987-1997). He has also served on the faculty of the Asia Graduate School of Theology and has taught and spoken in numerous countries throughout Asia, the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. Flemming has written extensively on the subject of contextualization, as well as a recent commentary on Philippians. An ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, he has pastored churches in Ohio and Japan.