From its inception Christianity spread cross-culturally, not only because of the Great Commission mandate, but also because of the Gospel’s universal appeal. The Gospel never was distinctly Jewish just as it has never been distinctly Western. Jesus may have been a Jew, but he identified himself as “the Son of man” (87 occurrences) and the second Adam (Romans 5). God “so loved the world” (John 3:16). Christ died for all men (Romans 5:18). Christianity is the only truly universal and supra-cultural religion.
While witnesses do need to present the Gospel through culturally-relevant modes of communication, we must never forget that the message itself is already relevant to all men, everywhere, in all times. The Gospel does not need to be contextualized for non-western cultures because it is already supra-cultural. Its message is already universally relevant and necessarily collides with man’s sinful pride and every cultural expression of that pride. Conversion is never accomplished through the merging of Christianity and culture, but rather by calling “all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
The glorious truth of the Gospel’s universal appeal is the ultimate realization of God’s plan for the ages as pictured in Revelation 5:9, where the redeemed saints from “every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” will gather as one to worship the Lamb who was slain—the One who also reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Written by Dr. Kevin Brosnan, Field Administrator of Baptist World Mission