I recently experienced something that I technically knew, that is, people hear things in the context of their culture. How would you describe the beauty of a sunrise to a person who has been born blind? It would be challenging to say the least. Talking to people in Southeast Asia about God’s redemptive plan through faith in Christ was challenging, also. No “churchey” language was useful to connect people in that culture. They had no frame of reference for phraseology to which we never even give a second thought. In a society where it common practice to worship multiple gods, yet where a great premium is placed on honor, I found the most effective gospel presentation to be as follows: “There is one true God. He made the world, everything, and everybody in it. He is completely honorable in every way, and He has never failed, not even one time. He loves people of every nation, but all people, including me, and including you, have offended Him, because we have not been completely honorable. When we lost our temper, or did some selfish thing, we were not honorable. The one true God, who is our Great Father in heaven, calls not being completely honorable, “sin.” He is so completely honorable that one who has not been completely honorable cannot have a relationship with Him, but because He loves us, He sent His Son, whose name is Jesus, to be a mediator for us. His Son, who was completely honorable, was punished by death in the place of people who have not been honorable. This means He died for me, and He died for you. After He died, the Great Father in heaven raised Him back to life on the third day. This was the proof that He has power to do all things. The one true God says that you can have a relationship with Him, if you will trust in His Son by turning to Him for help and being willing to become His follower. He will consider you to be completely honorable, and you will see that He is the only true God.”
Now, how does that translate to differences in our own culture? It says that we must have the flexibility, within the boundaries of staying true to biblical revelation, to speak to people in ways that they understand.