Episode 12: Is it Possible to Stay Culturally Relevant but Avoid Syncretism?



We want to make the Gospel and our disciple-making efforts relevant to the people we are trying to reach. How do you avoid syncretism? What does it mean to be syncretistic? How far can (or should) one go to adapt to the culture and when is it dangerous or to be avoided? Cynthia Anderson, DMM trainer and coach, answers these questions on today’s podcast.

Key Points from this episode:

  • Some syncretism (the combining of Christian principles with cultural forms) is normal.
  • The Passover ceremony is an example of god using a Jewish form to make the Gospel make sense to the Jewish people.
  • Anything to do with idols or engaging with the demonic needs to be strictly avoided.
  • Determine what the commonly understood meaning is, not only the original or root meaning of the practice or object in question.
  • The Christmas tree is an example of something with a pagan root that has changed in meaning.
  • Cultural forms sometimes can be redeemed or changed.
  • Be as culturally relevant as you can without violating prohibitions from scripture.
  • Let the cultural insiders make the decisions about what is okay and not okay to do.
  • Forms are not evil. What is attached to them (meaning) is what makes them evil.
  • Pray over things that have been used for other purposes and cleanse them before using them.



Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Getting Started in Disciple Making Movements Course

Pursuing Disciple Making Movements in the Frontiers Blog

Cynthia Anderson on Twitter

Cynthia Anderson on Instagram

DMMs Frontier Missions Facebook

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