How do we define "cross-cultural"?
In our Mission Essentials series, we are exploring what we mean by the term, "cross-cultural," and how Scripture demonstrates and highlights this aspect of God's mission to the world.
In our opening article, Dean Flemming, professor of New Testament and missions at MidAmerica Nazarene University, discusses how the narrative of Acts reveals the Holy Spirit leading the first Christians to carry the good news of Jesus Christ to cultures other than their own.
Check back each week for new installments on this topic, and join the conversation by contributing your comments at the close of each article.
Mission Essentials is an original series produced by Engage magazine to refresh Nazarenes globally in our shared understanding of what it means to participate in God's mission to the world.
New articles, contributed by voices from all six world regions in the denomination, are published regularly in Engage.
Come back every week to read more about topics such as "Who is a Missionary?" and "Where is the Mission Field?" and "Called: How Do You Know?"
Yet Paul does not water down the message. He announces the good news that God raised Jesus from the dead, even though some of his audience think this claim is disgusting and silly (17:31-32). Paul offers a good model for us today. Our efforts in mission must always be sensitive to the life situations of the different groups of people we encounter. At the same time, we must tell and live out the good news without compromising the message. The gospel challenges aspects of every worldview and culture—including our own.
The story of Acts, then, is the story of barriers coming down. The gospel is for all kinds of people and every culture. And we are also part of that story. The church today is called to get caught up in the same mission of God. God’s purpose to bring salvation to the world through a Spirit-empowered church is an unfinished story. It is a story that is still being lived out in places like Lima and London and Lagos—to the very ends of the earth.
-- Dean Flemming is professor of New Testament and missions at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. Previously, he was a lecturer at European Nazarene College, in Büsingen, Germany, since 2000. He also has served as professor of New Testament at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary, Philippines (1987-97), and as a local church pastor in Japan and the U.S.