The 3D Gospel: A Quick Reference.
The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures, by Jayson Georges. Published by Time Press, 2017. 80 pages.
When I entered seminary in 1995, one of the first people I met is my friend Shawn, who has lived as a missionary with his family in Haiti for the past 10 years. He recommended this book to me, as a “must read” for those seeking to understand those living in a shame-based culture. I highly recommend, The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures, by Jayson Georges. This brief book explains three major cultural divisions and how the gospel speaks to those worldviews.
As we dive into a study on the book of Acts, we will see how the gospel–the message that we can be reconciled to God through Jesus–is for all people. The gospel is for ALL people, not just the Jews, or any select group of people. Acts gradually moves us from Jerusalem (a primarily Jewish audience) to the Uttermost Parts of the Earth (primarily non-Jewish audience); in every place, God draws believers to Himself because men like Peter and Paul are faithful to deliver a message that makes sense to those who are listening. The 3D Gospel explores how the gospel speaks to the three major cultural divisions in the world: Guilt – Innocence, Shame – Honor, and Fear – Power cultures. Jayson Georges explores how we can contextualize the message of the gospel and remain true to the essentials of the gospel as found in Scripture.
First, Georges discusses the differences between the major cultures of the world. A Guilt – Innocence culture is usually found in the western context, so the majority of Americans would certainly relate. People who break laws are guilty and seek justice or forgiveness to rectify a wrong. Shame – Honor cultures are common in the East, and are often based on a collectivistic mentality. In Shame – Honor cultures, people are shamed for failing to fulfill group expectations, and must meet these expectations before having their honor restored before the community. Finally, Fear – Power cultures are typically found in a tribal context, and people fear evil and pursue power over the spirit world through magical rituals (10-11).
Georges points out that the book of Ephesians explains the gospel in a way that is relatable to all people groups: it demonstrates forgiveness of sins, discusses our adoption as children of God, and shows how the power that brought Jesus from the dead is the same power that works in us to bring about reconciliation and sanctification (12).
The book goes on to explain how a common “western” understanding of the gospel does not make sense to the other shame and fear based cultures. First, Georges outlines how each worldview meets basic human needs on pages 30-33. From there, the author provides contextualized theology for each worldview. How can we share the Four Spiritual Laws in a way that makes sense for the internationals living among us, or when we travel abroad on missions trips? A list of important verses for each framework is found on pages 41-46, and a chart comparing the systematic theology of each group is found on pages 52-54.
Chapters 4 and 5 continue to explore how we approach ministry and missions in each of the various worldviews. He supports his ideas with examples from Scripture, which help the reader further understand the necessity of presenting the gospel in a way that is meaningful for the hearer. Additional resources can be found at honorshame.com
I recommend this book to anyone who is actively involved in sharing their faith. I gained so much in how to explain God’s good gift to all people. The book also gave me an appetite for deeper study of Scripture. I hope you will pick up a copy.
by Heather Soukup, Children’s Disciple-making Director