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Honor, Shame, and the Gospel

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

Introduction by Christopher Flanders and Werner Mischke 

Section 1: Honor-Shame in General Contexts 

1. The Honor and Glory of Jesus Christ by Steven C. Hawthorne 

2. Honor and Shame in Historical Theology by Jayson Georges 

3. A Clothesline Theology for the World by Tom Steffen 

4. Saving Us from Me by Jackson Wu 

5. The Shaming of Jesus in John by Randolph Richards

6. Empowering Personal Healing by Mako A. Nagasawa 

7. Abuse and Shame by Steve Tracy 

Section 2: Honor-Shame in Various Mission Contexts

8. The Dark Side of Orality by Lynn Thigpen 

9. Must Honor Clash with Humility? by Arley Loewen 

10. Sharing God’s Love in an Urban, Pluralistic Context by Steve Hong 

11. Discipleship in Asian Honor Cultures by Cristian Dumitrescu 

12. An Honor-Shame Gospel for Syrians Displaced by War by Rich James 

13. A Gospel That Reconciles by Katie J. Rawson 

14. The Book of Samuel by Nolan Sharp 

15. The Muslim Woman’s Journey from Shame to Honor by Audrey Frank 



Topic Index 

Scripture Index

Honor, Shame, and the Gospel
Reframing Our Message and Ministry
Christopher Flanders and Werner Mischke (Editors)

An Honorific Gospel: Biblically Faithful & Culturally Relevant

Christians engaged in communicating the gospel navigate a challenging tension: faithfulness to God’s ancient, revealed Word—and relevance to the local, current social context. What if there was a lens or paradigm offering both? Understanding the Bible—particularly the gospel—through the ancient cultural “language” of honor-shame offers believers this double blessing. An honorific gospel offers new points of resonance with communities where shame and honor are critical values, including most unreached peoples.

In Honor, Shame, and the Gospel, over a dozen practitioners and scholars from diverse contexts and fields add to the ongoing conversation around the theological and missiological implications of an honorific gospel. Eight illuminating case studies explore ways to make disciples in a diversity of social contexts—for example, East Asian rural, Middle Eastern refugee, African tribal, and Western secular urban.

Honor, Shame, and the Gospel provides valuable resources to impact the ministry efforts of the church, locally and globally. Linked with its ancient honor-shame cultural roots, the gospel, paradoxically, is ever new—offering fresh wisdom to Christian leaders and optimism to the church for our quest to expand Christ’s kingdom and serve the worldwide mission of God. 


  • When I was in seminary, learning about honor, shame, and the impact of social values on culture and religion was transformative for my understanding of Scripture, theology, and the world. I am delighted to see this interdisciplinary contribution to honor-shame studies bring together influential scholars and practitioners from many backgrounds and contexts. I highly recommend for pastors and students, but also for all who care about the whole church bringing the whole gospel to the whole world.

    Nijay K. Gupta, PhDprofessor of New Testament, Northern Seminary 

  • Honor, Shame, and the Gospel brings afresh an important message and teaching to the attention of the global Church and mission. While in many ways the topic is not new, its renewed attention to the nexus of theology and mission practice today is timely. The richness of this book is in the conversation between different voices as they wrestle with reading scripture and its honor and shame perspective and apply it in a multiplicity of ministry contexts. While the reader can focus on individual chapters, the book is more than individual perspectives and is richer when read in the light of the dialogues that are happening between the individual understandings. It provides an excellent foundation for a much needed, broader, and deeper conversation that gives attention to the differing gendered, religious, and community experiences of honor and shame.

    Cathy Hine, PhD co-founder of When Women Speak: Angelina Noble Women’s Mission Research Centre, Australian College of Theology 

  • I am completely convinced that it is high time for a major reframing of the gospel in the West. This is not only because our prevailing articulation of it is indexed to a completely different historic, religious, and cultural era, but also because the culture/s in which we now serve are immeasurably more complex and require a deeper understanding of honor-shame and how the gospel addresses this ubiquitous human experience.

    Alan Hirsch author of numerous award-winning books; founder of Movement Leaders Collective and Forge Missional Training Network 

  • Written by leaders and practitioners with diverse missiological experiences, these essays and stories focus on the convergence of honor, shame, and the gospel, at both the theoretical and practical level. This timely volume will further your sensitivity towards honor-shame motifs in Scripture. Additionally, the stories that are drawn from nations as varied as Cambodia, Croatia, and Syria will surely challenge you to consider the strategic importance of such motifs for advancing the gospel in a global context.

    Te-Li Lau, PhD associate professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School 

  • We are in an era when we need to rethink how we are sharing the Gospel. What worked in earlier decades, or with previous generations, very often is no longer effective. Given the scope of global migration patterns, prior thinking that honor and shame cultures were for “others in a different part of the world” is no longer accurate. In almost any city or context that is not ethnically homogeneous, we now need to understand the concepts in this book if we want to be more effective in leading people to Christ and aiding them in their discipleship journeys.

    Mary Lederleitner, PhD, author of Women in God’s Mission; managing director of the Church Evangelism Institute at the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center 

  • Missiologists have argued for decades that biblical interpretation and theologies emerge from the unarticulated experiences, presuppositions, values, and worldview of theologians and pastor/missionaries engaging scripture. This volume, with its focus on honor-shame, provides substantive documentation of that phenoMENA, but much more. In Part 1, seven essays explore diverse theological interpretations of scripture, all framed around general and specific questions of honor-shame and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Part 2, eight essays provide case studies of ministry to persons who face honor/shame dilemmas in life and challenges for those who seek to share Christ or make disciples in these communities. The power of this volume lies in its diversity of perspectives—Kärkkäinen with an interdisciplinary reflection on honor, guilt, shame, face, and forgiveness; Georges on historic theology, Steffen with a clothesline theology for the world—which, with the other essays in the volume, embrace the whole of scripture, the diversity of theologies, and a sampling of the broadest range of missional engagement of humanity. This material overflows with rich insight, and provocative application for today’s global mission force, providing resources for theological and missiological reflection regardless of one’s culture of origin or one’s engagement in ministry.

    Sherwood G. Lingenfelter, PhD senior professor of Anthropology and provost emeritus, Fuller Theological Seminary 

  • This compendium highlights an exceptional collection of essays in the ongoing conversation about honor-shame dynamics in biblical, theological, and missiological studies. The wide range of essays contained in this volume will help enrich cross-cultural practice while also equipping the Church to grow as a global family. It is a welcome addition in facilitating understanding and love of neighbor between those in Western and Majority World contexts

    Greg Mathias, PhD Assistant Professor of Global Studies; Associate Director of International Missions for the Center for Great Commission Studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 

  • In this single volume, God has brought together some of the world’s brightest cross-cultural gospel communicators and thinkers to share with us the wisdom they have gleaned about worldview and how it is influenced by guilt, shame, and fear. Armed with this knowledge, missionaries are much better equipped for incarnational ministry than they were a few decades ago.

    Roland MullerWEC International, author of Honor and Shame: Unlocking the Door 

  • It’s impossible to think about and practice mission today and bypass an honor-shame framework. This new resource offers a deep dive—theological, anthropological, and with case studies––into honor-shame missiological reflection. This will serve as a great resource for colleges, seminaries, and mission training centers equipping God’s people for twenty-first-century mission.

    Ed Smither, PhD president, Evangelical Missiological Society; dean, College of Intercultural Studies, Columbia International University 

  • Christopher Flanders and Werner Mischke in Honor, Shame, and the Gospel have brought together an astonishingly diverse selection of essays illuminating the long-neglected dynamics of shame and honor in our understanding of the Christian message. The result is nothing less than a tour de force in exposing the narrow frame of guilt-innocence which has dominated theological and ecclesial discourse for centuries, and, in the process, opening fresh avenues for a deepened understanding of the far-reaching power of the gospel for all peoples. These essays will stir your theological imagination to new heights!

    Timothy C. Tennent, PhD president, professor of World Christianity, Asbury Theological Seminary 

Additional Details

  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: William Carey Publishing
  • Binding: paperback
  • Publish Year: 2020
  • ISBN: 9781645082804
  • Vendor: William Carey Publishing