BOOK REVIEW – The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame, and Fear Cultures

In The 3D Gospel, Jayson Georges gives a concise introduction to how the Gospel can be presented in a culturally compelling way across the world. Is it always the best approach to talk in terms of our personal guilt, our individual forgiveness and God’s justice? Or can we see other elements in Scripture which may resonate more deeply in certain situations?

Ways of seeing the world

It was missiologist Roland Muller who popularised the idea of cultures having a heightened sense of either guilt and innocence, shame and honour, or fear and power. Whilst every culture, subculture and individual is influenced by a mix of all of these to some extent, it is possible to broadly categorise cultures within the frameworks. For example, the UK may be usefully called a guilt-innocence culture and the Middle East an honour-shame culture, with folk Islam introducing a fear-power element. Georges presents this paradigm as a key way to think missionally because, as he makes clear, this has a profound effect upon how the narrative of salvation may be presented and understood. Put simply, an Arab Muslim may be much more concerned about gaining honour and avoiding family shame, or perhaps protecting themselves from the power of the ‘evil eye’ and jinn, than they are about seeking forgiveness and avoiding guilt.

‘These three types of cultures are like group personalities defining how people view the world.’

‘The Gospel is truly a multi-faceted diamond capable of rescuing humanity from all aspects of sin.’

Presenting the Gospel

Within this short book – just 80 pages – the author explains the basic concepts of each culture, showing how these influence the lives of individuals. He then gives short summaries of the Gospel in a manner appropriate to each culture, looking at how different models of the atonement may speak more powerfully into a particular society. Finally, he gives us a few brief suggestions of approaches to take in ministry. Throughout the book, he presents us with useful charts and tables, giving a great summary of the wider material. Whist this can be noticeably simplistic at points, Georges recognises the limitations of such a short work and makes it clear that he is talking in broad brushstrokes. This is a quick pragmatic introduction, not an exhaustive one.

An encouraging read

By being grounded in the Bible, with frequent references, Georges makes a compelling case that Scripture makes use of all three of these dynamics when describing the work of Christ upon the cross: Calvary forgives us of our guilt, restores our honour and liberates us from Satan’s power. These insights makes The 3D Gospel not just a useful tool for ministry, but also a wonderful opening into a fuller appreciation of what God has done for us. For that alone, it is well worth picking up a copy.

More of Jayson’s work can be found at

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