Examines the Biblical and cultural basis for storytelling as an effective gospel communication method. Students analyze Old and New Testament examples, explore differences in oral, print, and digital cultures, and develop a theological basis for a contextualized missional strategy. Special attention is given to the rise of narrative as a theological category in the twentieth century.
Many students come from non-oral or have been trained in non-oral cultures. These students need to be “re-trained” to understand how oral peoples communicate and learn. Students learn this Biblical method and know how to apply it in cross-cultural missional endeavors so that the gospel can be heard, understood, and responded to.
Non-oral missionaries hit a communication barrier in oral cultures. It is the missionary’s responsibility to learn the theology and the practice of storytelling to better communicate God’s redemptive plan. This involves careful attention to the ways in which Christian theology has been influenced by other cultures as well.
For most of human history, stories have played a central role in human culture. Memory, history, and truth have been inextricably related. Situating the Bible both as story and among stories comes as a shock to contemporary post-Enlightenment western theology - a shock which may be necessary to restore the communicative and missional dimension of biblical doctrine.
The Christian life is marked by an awareness of having been integrated into a larger story of God's work in creating a people for Himself from every nation.
Understanding Christian teaching and mission within the overarching framework of the biblical story implies reframing certain theological categories entrenched in much of western and global culture in the 21st century, restoring importance to the contexts out of which these stories arise and which they infiltrate.
Many cultures are oral cultures whose entire worldview is told in story. The course explores both the nature of cultural storytelling and how God's story can be told within any and all cultures.
Much of what the student learns is the art and skill of storying the gospel.
The student is challenged to understand how story has played a part in their own worldview development and the importance of storying in relating to those of different cultures.