Pioneers Statement on Contextualization

Recently, Pioneers, a major mission organization based in Orlando, Florida, released a "statement on contextualization."  I found the statement on Ted Esler's blog here.  I like the statement and want to commend it to you.  Check it out and let me know what you think in the comment section.  I have included my own comments on the statement in highlighted italics below.

Messengers who bring the Good News have the privilege and responsibility to faithfully communicate the biblical Gospel message. They should model and teach obedience to all the Scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thus PI [Pioneers] workers desire to minister in ways most likely to yield faithful disciples and the reproduction of biblical churches among those with least access to the Gospel. [Maybe the weakest part of the statement is this opening. It grounds everything in the motivation of missional effectiveness. While this is certainly part of why we contextualize. It isn't the full picture. Read my blog series "Why Contextualize?" here.]
We believe God normally desires new believers to remain connected with their social context (1 Corinthians 7:17-24), [This is a strong application for this text.  It is new for me to consider this kind of application, but I like it.] while not compromising biblical teaching in their beliefs or practice (e.g. permanently retaining their former non-Christian religious identity). [I find the discussion about identity to be a bit vague.  I can only guess here about what is meant by "non-Christian religious identity".  The notion of religious identity is not constant across all cultures.  I want clarification here.  Does this mean "anti-Christian" identity.  That is, I'm a blank AND NOT a Christian. But I think the notion of Hindu, Muslim, or Jewish Christ-followers must not be quickly dismissed. Rather these must be taken case-by-case. The implications of living out this creative tension and Gospel witness are best worked out by groups of believers, through prayer and diligent study of the Scriptures, informed by the story of God’s people throughout history and the global body of Christ. [Good. Prayer, the Bible, the Church, and God's work in history all must inform our pursuit of contexutalization.]
This affects key issues, including:
We encourage believers to live in such a way that those around them become increasingly aware of their wholehearted submission to Jesus as Lord. He calls all believers to a process of transformation into the image of Christ (Romans 12:1,2; Colossians 3:10), giving courageous and respectful testimony of Christ’s work in us (1 Peter 3:14-16). [This is so good I can't even tell you. People around us must become increasingly aware of our wholehearted submission to Jesus as Lord. This REQUIRES contextualization. Where contextualization is not pursued, non-Christians around us don't understand the transformation they see in us as a result of our devotion to Christ. They understand it as a rejection of them and their culture. I really like this statement and want to teach it to those whom I disciple.]
We want believers to understand their biblical identity in Christ and his church, and to embrace the implications of that identity as active members of a local community of believers (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:9). [I believe that this is essential but I would want to add that these local communities of believers should be actively engaged in the global body of Christ. I must not deny my brother or sister in Christ anymore than I should deny Christ himself.]
Our passion is to see believers obey all that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:20). This involves an ongoing process whereby believers are empowered by the Spirit and nurtured through the Scripture (Galatians 5:16-25; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 1 Peter 2:2,3). [It is important to emphasize that our spiritual nourishment comes by the Spirit through the Bible.]
Worldview and Beliefs:
Believers are intentionally discipled in such a way that their worldview and beliefs are increasingly transformed into conformity with Scripture (Romans 12:2; Hebrews 5:14). [Good. Conformity to Scripture and not to some other standard.]
God grants us suffering in this world to refine our faith, strengthen his church and bring glory to Christ (Phil 1:29; 3:10; 1 Peter 1:7). Together, we recognize that persecution is not to be feared, and “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 10:28; Hebrews 10:32?34). [Clearly, this is a statement that is directed at the notion that some pursue contextualization out of a fear of persecution. I suppose this may be the case. However, I wouldn't call that contextualization. Contextualization is, at its core, about imitating Christ's incarnation and crucifixion. Doing so will not shy away from suffering but rather seek to incarnate suffering -- presenting it in context to the people around us.]
All cultures reflect elements of God’s creative goodness and human sinfulness (Romans 2:14,15; 1 John 2:15?17). We encourage believers to live out biblically sound and culturally appropriate worship, witness, relationships and lifestyles (Ephesians 5:15; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Peter 2:11,12,16,17). [Much more could be said on this point.  However it would probably be difficult to do so without delving too much into specifics.]

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