The Need of an Authentic Gospel for the Australian Context(s)
The dominant missionary problem of the Church in the West is the cultural captivity of the gospel. In Australia, like other Western societies, the gospel has become absorbed and co-opted into our culture. The result is that the gospel has acquired many cultural accretions so that these can no longer be distinguished from the gospel itself. My PhD thesis was entitled: Neither too Fitted nor Foreign. The church in the West struggles with its fittedness to Western culture while, I may add, the church in the Majority World struggles with the foreignness of the gospel and the church within its cultural context. However, the church in Australia must learn to live between the dialectical tension of its fitted and foreign. For it is within this tension where the authentic gospel is to be rediscovered. Accordingly, if the gospel is too fitted to Australian culture it will simply become an extension of our culture and it will fail to challenge those things that are at odds with the gospel within our culture. If the gospel is too foreign it will not touch the heart or minds of the Australian people because it will never scratch where they itch and it will constantly fail to meet their deepest needs. Thus our challenge, as God’s people, is to creatively find ways of communicating the gospel to Aussies so that it scratches where it itches and at the same time challenges our culture at those points where it is at odds with the gospel itself.