In this interview with Chris Wiley, we explore the strategy of contextualization. Church planters and Christians in the 20th and 21st centuries have been thinking about contextualization and attempting to use it as a means to reach people with the gospel. It is the normative approach to being “missional” in the American context.
While the church has always been a people of mission, carrying God’s gospel message to the ends of the earth, in the mid-20th century many Christian thinkers began to reconsider older approaches to Christian mission. Wiley casts doubt on the usefulness and fruitfulness of this endeavor particularly as it relates to a post-Christian culture of death. He ties contextualization to ideological movements in the 19th Century.
Bio from crwiley.com: “C. R. Wiley’s childhood was like something out of a story by Roald Dahl.
It was full of vacancies. He was a ward of the state for a time. (Imagine living at the DMV and you have a sense of what that was like.) And he hated the 8th grade so much that he took it twice.
Fortunately his imagination filled in what life left out. He drew a lot and actually got pretty good at it.
Besides writing for magazines and publishing books he has been a pastor (still is!), a college professor, a commercial real estate investor, a landlord (still that, too!), and a building contractor.
He has been happily married for over 30 years and he has three grown children. He resides in the state of Washington.
He has written for Touchstone Magazine, Modern Reformation, Sacred Architecture, The Imaginative Conservative, Front Porch Republic, National Review Online, and First Things, among others. His most recent book is, In the House of Tom Bombadil (2021). He is also the author of, The Household and the War for the Cosmos published by Canon Press (2019). His short fiction has appeared in The Mythic Circle (published by the Mythopoeic Society) and elsewhere, and the first book in his young adult fantasy series, The Purloined Boy was published by Canonball Books (2017). He is a board member of the Academy of Philosophy and Letters, as well as New Saint Andrews College.”
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