I feel I’ve been needing to say this for some time, I just needed hear someone else saying the same thing first: contextualization is incarnational. What I mean is that, just as Jesus was fully God, who fully entered humanity as a man, and lived fully among mankind, the issue of contextualization is a 100% Christian community engaged in the community at large, 100%. Alan Hirsch states,
Whereas the missional impulse will always take people groups seriously as distinct cultural systems, the incarnational impulse will require that we always take seriously the specific culture of a group of people–seriously enough to develop a community of faith that is both true to the gospel and relevant to the culture it is seeking to evangelize. —The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch
A church is not a church if it is not
God’s distinctly Christ’s bride. It must be. But the mission that the church has been given is that of engagement with all nations, peoples, and languages. And this issue of contextualization is where the rubber of the gospel hits the road of a neighborhood. Or in other words, “when mission fits seamlessly into the ordinary rhythms of life, friendships, and community” of the place God has called us to.