One of the unfortunate consequences of the promotion of contextualization is the de-emphasis of our responsibility to help others to understand new concepts. As a professor explains humorously, we aren’t going to preach to Eskimos about the “Seal” of God who takes away the sins of the world, but about the “Lamb” and then proceed to teach them what a lamb is, and why it is significant and how it plays a part in the OT. Here is the intro to Piper’s latest “Taste and See“:
As we think seriously about contextualizing the message of the Bible, let’s remember that we must also labor to bring about, in the minds of our listeners, conceptual categories that may be missing from their mental framework. If we only use the thought structures they already have, some crucial biblical truths will remain unintelligible, no matter how much contextualizing we do. This work of concept creation is harder than contextualization, but just as important.