Are Honor and Shame the Keys to Cross-Cultural Evangelism?

Many modern missions experts say that the West focuses too much on a gospel of guilt and innocence. Are they right?

In the West, we tend to think in terms of law, justice, guilt, and innocence. Our gospel presentation naturally picks up this flavor. But in many Eastern cultures, honor and shame are the dominant values—and in tribal contexts, it’s fear and power that take center stage. Has the Western church focused too much on a “legal” gospel and missed out on critical components of the biblical message? And if so, how do we avoid overcompensating and leaving out critical parts of the gospel such as the doctrine of justification?

This week, Scott Dunford and Alex Kocman interact with the core ideas from books like Rolland Muller’s Honor and Shame: Unlocking the Door (2001) and discuss the advantages and biblical dangers surrounding the cultural lenses of guilt and innocence, honor and shame, and fear and power.

Subscribe for More

Subscribe, rate, and review The Missions Podcast in iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or your favorite app to help us bridge the gap between theology and mission.

Alex Kocman & Scott Dunford

Alex Kocman is the Director of Communications and Engagement for ABWE. He serves as general editor for Message Magazine and co-hosts The Missions Podcast. After earning his M.A. in Communication and B.S. in Biblical Studies, he served as an online apologetics instructor with Liberty University and a youth pastor in Pennsylvania, where he now resides with his wife and three children. Read his blog or follow him on X/Twitter.

Scott Dunford is the pastor of Western Hills Church in San Mateo, Calif. Previously, Scott served as Vice President of Mobilization and Communications for ABWE and as a missionary in East Asia. Scott graduated from Northland International University (B.A. in Pastoral Studies), earned his M.A. in biblical studies from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, his M.B.A. from Cornerstone University, and is currently enrolled in Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s D.Min. program with an emphasis on missions.