Jayson Georges’ book The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures is a remarkable book that helps people grasp the intricacy of differing cultural worldviews and its implications for Christian mission. This book is a must-read for anyone involved in cross-cultural ministry.
As the title says, this short book explains three major cultural contexts and how the gospel speaks to those worldviews.
Guilt-Innocence – This is usually found in Western cultures, which are more individualistic. Lawbreakers are considered guilty and seek justice or forgiveness to rectify a wrong.
Eph. 1:7a, In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.
This speaks to Western cultures, where laws and consequences govern their societies. Justice is desired under the law. The justice for our sins is found in the cross and the forgiveness that is offered in Christ.
2. Shame-Honor – This is usually found in Eastern cultures, which are more collectivistic. Those who bring shame to the group must seek to restore honor.
Eph. 1:5, In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.
This speaks to Eastern cultures, where breaking cultural norms brings shame to the group and separation from it. While sin separates us from God, we are brought back into fellowship with Him, made His sons and daughters, through Christ.
3. Fear-Power – This is usually found in tribal or African cultures, which are more animistic. Here people seek power over the spirit world through magical rituals so they can avoid evil and harm.
Eph. 1:19-21, That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion.
This speaks to tribal and African cultures where there is a great fear of evil in the spirit world. There are other spiritual powers, but through Christ, we have power over those and do not need to be afraid.
International workers or anyone engaged in the Global mission.
Pastors and local ministry teams involved in reaching new immigrants.
Outreach-oriented or cross-cultural intercessors.
As someone who grew up in an honor-shame culture, I find this book particularly intriguing. It is short and simple yet theologically rich and culturally relevant.
No culture is superior or inferior to another. When it comes to gospel presentation, certain methods are better suited to particular audiences than a one-size-fits-all approach.
While reading the Bible in our context is important, reading with the honor-shame lens helps us see clearly and animated.
Jesus grew up in a shame-honor culture but spoke to guilt-innocence and fear-power cultures as well. He came into the world to forgive our sins, to give us power, to remove fear, and to restore honor as His sons and daughters.
Georges offers some very helpful charts throughout the book, illustrating how each of the cultures view grace, salvation, the sovereignty of God, and other aspects of the faith.
To understand your dominant cultural worldview, check out TheCultureTest.com
Georges, Jayson. The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures. San Bernardino, CA: Time Press, 2017.