One Gospel for All Nations

A Practical Approach to Biblical Contextualization
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The Bible tells us what to believe––the gospel. Did you know it also shows how to contextualize the gospel? In One Gospel for All Nations, Jackson Wu does more than talk about principles. He gets practical. When the biblical writers explain the gospel, they consistently use a pattern that is both firm and flexible. Wu builds on this insight to demonstrate a model of contextualization that starts with interpretation and can be applied in any culture. In the process, he explains practically why we must not choose between the Bible and culture. Wu highlights various implications for both missionaries and theologians. Contextualization should be practical, not pragmatic; theological, not theoretical.

  • ISBN: 9780878086290
  • Pages: 298
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Published: 2015
  • Publisher: William Carey Library


One sign of an excellent book is the number and variety of people with whom one is eager to share it. Again and again as I read One Gospel for All Nations, names of colleagues came to mind—pastors, Bible teachers, evangelists, seminary faculty, missionaries, heads of agencies, missions mobilizers, and cross-cultural workers in many different fields. In short, I would commend this book to anyone who wants to understand the Bible more fully or to communicate its message more clearly to others, locally or internationally. For those working in honor/shame cultures in particular, Wu’s work is essential reading.

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The context of missions has changed. The pivot from the Gutenberg galaxy into the digital galaxy has taken place. How do people from different cultural worldviews make sense of the one true Gospel? A deep examination of the Scripture is required. Wu’s book calls us into a serious reflection in the work of contextualization and meaningful presentation of the Gospel. Wu offers a timeless perspective that is both theological and practical. I highly recommend your attention to One Gospel for All Nations.

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Many studies talk about contextualization in theory, but Jackson Wu wants to help equip missionaries and Christian workers to do it well. Wu gives his
readers a model for contextualization that seeks to let the whole biblical narrative speak with a specific cultural accent, while at the same time interpreting and critiquing contemporary contexts through the lens of Scripture. But the real strength of this book comes when Wu shows us how his model works out in practice, as he beautifully retells the biblical story for Chinese people.  Jackson Wu deserves thanks for a balanced and engaging contribution to our understanding and practice of contextualization.

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With honor and grace, Wu tackles the tough question of how the gospel may be understood and communicated to every culture. In this spirited and creative work, Wu begins with a biblical foundation, using the framework from the Scriptures to develop a clear and practical method for understanding the gospel and understanding cultures. He challenges narrow and shortsighted models, encouraging theologians, missionaries, and all Christians to get practical. In One Gospel for All Nations, he forms a clear, relevant, and timely challenge to communicate truth to every people. Throughout, he proposes a model that remains biblical faithful and culturally meaningful, so every nation can hear and understand the gospel.

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It is easy to announce that “all theology is contextualization” or that “contextualization is complicated,” but it is another to do the actual work of contextualizing. In Wu’s book, we get not only theory about contextualization but a practical model for working out the most significant theme in the Bible: gospel. Entering into this book is to enter into recent biblical discussions about the gospel and missiology’s theories about contextualization.  Wu even takes us to the heart of the matter when he shows what gospel looks like in the Chinese culture.

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A practical book by a practical theologian who takes seriously the integration of biblical theology and missiology in relation to the gospel so that proclamation remains biblically based yet culturally calling.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Biblically Faithful and Culturally Meaningful

Section I: Contextualize or Compromise
1. Context Is King: A New Perspective on Contextualization
2. A Common Problem: Compromising the Gospel by Settling for Truth

Section II: A Firm and Flexible Model for Fluctuating Cultures
3. Pattern: How Does the Bible Frame the Gospel?
4. Priority: What Questions Does the Gospel Answer?
5. Perspective: What Is an "Implicit Gospel"?
6. Process: How Do We Move from Biblical Text to Cultural Context?

Section III: The One Gospel in Many Cultures
7. A Jewish Gospel among Gentiles: Using Acts 17 as a Test Case
8. A Chinese Biblical Theology: An Example of Exegetical Contextualization
9. The Gospel with Chinese Characteristics: An Example of Cultural Contextualization

Section IV: A Practical Perspective on Contextualization
10. Contextualizing Our Ministry: Implications for Strategy and Training
11. Cultural Lenses: Can We Use Contemporary Culture to Interpret Scripture?

Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3
Notes (Endnotes)
Scripture Index

Figure 1: Distinguishing True-false and Primary-secondary
Figure 2: Overlapping Contexts
Figure 3: Lenses for Reading Scripture
Figure 4: Gospel Presentations Answer Four Questions
Figure 5: Contextualization Wheel: Framework, Themes, and Culture
Figure 6: Framework Theme
Figure 7: Explanatory Themes
Figure 8: A Firm, Flexible, and Fluctuating Model
Figure 9: Ferris Wheel
Figure 10: Three Biblical Circles
Figure 11: Kingdom, Covenant, and Creation
Figure 12: Three Chinese Circles
Figure 13: Authority, Relationship, World
Figure 14: Stage Three Summary
Figure 15: Stage Four Summary
Figure 16: The Relationship between the Bible and Culture
Figure 17: What Kind of Lens to Use?
Figure 18: Jesus’ Life, Death, Resurrection, and Return
Figure 19: Two Cultural Trees
Figure 20: Deep Historical Roots

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