A Holistic Strategy for the Evangelization of Oral Learners

Abstract of a dissertation by Ronald D. Bush

Communicating the gospel across cultural barriers is an essential element of the Great Commission. Jesus mandated that his followers should go and make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:19a). The gospel was not limited to Israel, but it was good news for all peoples in all lands. Thus, beginning with Paul, Christians continue to take the gospel to all-ethni.

Fluency in language and culture traditionally have been the benchmarks of effectively engaging cultures in the task of teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:20a). Missionaries have endeavored to inhabit the milieus in which they labor in order to transpose the message of the gospel in such a way that indigenous Christianity resulted with minimal levels of syncretism and apostasy. In recent decades,however, missionaries have been confronted with a another facet contextualizing the gospel into a culture.

More than 80 percent of the world’s population function within the orality framework. The prevalence of oral learners alone is sufficient stimulus to analyze the nature of orality. However, when one apprehends the extensive effect orality possesses in evangelization, discipleship, and church planting, impetus to address this issue becomes critical. Orality’s sweeping implications for missions cannot be ignored. Efficacious engagement of oral learners reaches beyond Bible storying to include an embodiment of the oral framework through deliberate adjustment of cognitive process, media selection,relational emphasis, and content structure.

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