I am increasingly influenced by Lamin Sanneh’s work on gospel and culture. In his new book, Disciples of All Nations he well frames the gospel and culture issue as it relates to nationalism:

How can Christianity maintain its commitment to culture, insofar as culture embodies faith in a concrete way, while avoiding the sort of cultural idolatry that fuses truth claims and exclusive national ideals? How is cultural commitment compatible with religious openness? The history of Christianity, it has to be admitted, demonstrates an uneven record in balancing cultural specificity and theological normativeness, and the field is littered with failed attempts at reconciling Christ and culture.

This is particularly apropros during the Xmas season, when so much of Christmas is associated with national-cultural values and practices, straying far from the faith and truth of the gospel. How do you retain theological normativeness within our culture while avoiding idolatry?

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