Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures: Biblical Foundations and Practical Essentials

Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures: Biblical Foundations and Practical Essentials

by Jayson Georges, Mark D. Baker

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Many a Westerner has had a cross-cultural experience of honor and shame. First there are those stuttering moments in the new social landscape. Then after missed cues and social bruises comes the revelation that this culture—indeed much of the world—runs on an honor-shame operating system. When Western individualism and its introspective conscience fails to engage cultural gears, how can we shift and navigate this alternate code? And might we even learn to see and speak the gospel differently if we did?
In Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures Jayson Georges and Mark Baker help us decode the cultural script of honor and shame. What's more, they assist us in reading the Bible anew through the lens of honor and shame, often with startling turns. And they offer thoughtful and practical guidance in ministry within honor-shame contexts. Apt stories, illuminating insights and ministry-tested wisdom complete this well-rounded guide to Christian ministry in honor-shame cultures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830851461
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 09/01/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 295
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Jayson Georges (MDiv, Talbot) lived in Central Asia for nine years doing church planting and microenterprise development. He is the author of The 3D Gospel, founder and editor of, and creator of The Culture Test. He serves as missiologist in residence at an evangelical organization, developing tools and training for Christians working in honor-shame contexts.

Mark D. Baker (PhD, Duke University) is professor of mission and theology at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California. He served as a missionary in Honduras for ten years, and has written a number of books in English and Spanish.

Table of Contents


1. A World of Shame

Part I: Cultural Anthropology

2. The Heart of Honor-Shame Cultures

3. The Face of Honor-Shame Cultures

Part II: Biblical Theology

4. Old Testament

5. Jesus

Part III: Practical Ministry

6. Spirituality

7. Relationships

8. Evangelism

9. Conversion

10. Ethics

11. Community

Appendix 1: Key Scriptures on Honor-Shame

Appendix 2: Biblical Stories Addressing Honor-Shame

Appendix 3: Recommended Resources


Name and Subject Index

Scripture Index

What People are Saying About This

Edward L. Smither

"Building responsibly on biblical and anthropological foundations for understanding honor and shame cultures, the authors offer practical reflections on how to engage honor-shame societies in the work of intercultural mission. This book will especially be of help to Christian workers from the West serving among Majority World peoples."

David A. deSilva

"Georges and Baker have taken the seeds of previous work on honor and shame in the environment of the biblical world and in modern cultures and cultivated them into fruitful insights and guidance in the areas of theology, crosscultural engagement and, especially, missions. They provide a culturally sensitive reading of Scripture and of modern non-Western situations, significantly advancing the question of how awareness of this dimension of the texts and our global community can improve our interactions with people living from a decidedly different axis of values and in our thinking about the contextualization of the gospel."

Christopher Flanders

"What Georges and Baker have done in this wonderfully helpful volume is unprecedented. They have plumbed the depths of current scholarly discussions on honor and shame from multiple sources (biblical studies, theology, anthropology, and intercultural studies) and have made such information wonderfully accessible for the practitioner. Intelligent, informed, and culturally perceptive, this resource will impact the theory and practice of missionaries and local leaders in unprecedented ways. Throughout, the writing is critical yet engaging. The appendixes ("Key Scriptures on Honor-Shame" and "Biblical Stories Addressing Honor-Shame") will prove to be exceptionally helpful resources. Those working in the global world of today must read this book. To not do so would be a true shame!"

Mako Nagasawa

"I was so glad for this book to stretch my heart and mind. Baker and Georges gave me new tools and hope for ministry, not just in a Majority World context, but in Western contexts that are increasingly both secular and globalized. Their experiences and thoughtfulness as missionaries give particular power to their call for us to love and care for people in 'old' ways."

Samuel E. Chiang

"An exceptional book on this timeless worldview and timely topic. The authors interweave real life stories to help us rediscover a biblical worldview and see how to apply the living Word of God today."

Judith Lingenfelter

"We can learn so much from failure if we want to, and the authors share here their failures and successes in working among societies where honor-shame values operate rather than those of guilt-innocence. Their plea is that we read the Bible with fresh eyes, seeing how the gospel was communicated in the honor-shame cultures in which it was written, rather than using the contextualized guilt-innocence paradigm we have accepted as the only way to minister. The text is full of examples that help the reader understand how differently honor-shame codes play out in the understanding of salvation and discipleship. It is a healthy shift for Western missionaries to rethink their evangelism strategies, especially in the collectivist societies in which many of them work. Sherwood and I strongly recommend this book to people trying to understand a way of structuring the world that is very different from the one in which they grew up."

Marvin J. Newell

"Although Jayson Georges has written on the important topic of honor-shame in the past, this book, coauthored with Mark Baker, takes an understanding of honor-shame dynamics to another level. Every message bearer working in non-Western cultures needs to read and apply the insights and principles of this book if they are to avoid the typical cultural blunders too often committed by too many. Within are crucial insights for effective crosscultural ministry."

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