Summary: Causes and effects of sin and the means of communicating Christ across cultural barriers
Severe consequences of sin include:
1). Spiritual death - Because of sin, all unsaved men will someday be forever separated from God in the lake of fire. This is referred to the second death in Matt. 7:23, 25:41, Rev.2:11;20:6,14;21:8
2). Physical death - The Lord created the first man with the possibility for living forever (Gen.2:9) but Adam sinned and had to die physically as a consequence of his sin. This physical death separated his soul from his body. The body returns to the dust, but his soul lives for ever.
3). Sin dulls man’s understanding - Acts 28:27 says, "Go to this people and say, You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving."
4). Sin distorts man’s perceptions and separates him from communion with God - Eph. 4:18 says, They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts."
5). Sin confuses man’s guidance systems - Isa. 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way."
6). Sin defiles man’s speech - Rom. 3:13,14 says, "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
7). Sin deceives man’s intentions - Jer.17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it.?"
8). Sin stifles our discernment , growth, and creativity - Heb. 5:12-14, "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food."
9). Sin makes us spiritually dyslexic - I Cor. 2:14 says, "The man without the Spirit of God does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
10). Sin dooms our soul - Ezek. 18:4 says, "For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son - both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die."
Case Study - One of the Jos E.C.W.A. Seminary students used both the art and science of evangelism in planting a church at Dare in Plateau State this year. When I asked him how he did it, he basically explained what he thought I wanted to hear - the scientific methods of evangelism. But, when I went to observe him with the people I learned that the real secret to his success was in the art of his evangelism. Pastor Rabo had established a wonderful rapport with the people and their leaders through contextual relationship building. Then he spontaneously would burst in a song about Jesus in the language of the people, Gbagi. This so mesmerized the people that they forgot all about their natural defenses and soaked up nearly everything Pastor Rabo was singing about. Almost mysteriously everyone joined in the singing of the songs about the gospel with faces that lit the night. Their entire hearts, souls, minds, emotions, and senses were completely engaged in the processes of receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ. This simple art form of communicating the gospel through vernacular choruses showed more insight into the culture through a respected art form than all of the scientific processes he had learned in a year in seminary. Pastor Rabo could not explain the scientific processes of how he evangelized a people across cultures, but he could show me how in a masterful display of the art of cross cultural evangelism.
Sin should be communicated in clear metaphorical language that can be understood by the concrete-relational way of thinking. David Hesselgrave defines the concrete-relational perception in Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally on p. 223 as,
"People who attempt to discover truth in such a way that life and reality are seen pictorially in terms of the active emotional relationships present in a concrete situation."
Hesselgrave advocates five techniques to communicate to the concrete relationalists:
a). "The evangelist should familiarize himself with the mythological or visionary or philosophical nature of most of the sacred corpses of the false religious systems of the people you are trying to evangelize. He should put aside the abstract forms of Christian theology and review those events which and through God has disclosed Himself and His truth."
b). "Use Old Testament types, parables, and symbolic acts of the prophets, the recounting and interpretation of dreams and visions, the rituals and festivals of worship, the aphorisms of the wisdom literature, the parable of Christ etc. An evangelist should be able to use metaphors, similes and symbolic language like proverbs to communicate the essentials of the gospel in concrete expressions that the people can relate their known to the unknown."