About the author


Jason Harris

Jason loves to communicate God's word both in the local church and at conferences and retreats. Jason has been involved with Worship Music since 1996 and InFocus since 2005. Jason has degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research and is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer in the College of Business, Law, and Governance at James Cook University, Cairns. Jason is also a pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at


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    I’m not sure the ‘enculturation’ you talk about is all that surprising when the three featured speakers all came from the United States and a particular stream of IB churches. But I wonder whether it matters all that much anyway?

    If people are happy to listen and apply Biblical teaching that might be framed in particular cultural context who cares? They’re not being taught to commit sin, in fact they’ll probably end up honouring the Lord and achieving more for Him than most Christians will!

    While I personally don’t support the concept of “soul-winning” and would prefer to talk about “modesty” rather than dress standards, if leaders in IB churches want to preach on “dress standards” and “soul-winning” who are we to tell them otherwise? Believers are free to worship and serve in these “enculturated” environments or not to.

    Liberty cuts both ways and and so I don’t think we ought to judge those pastors/leaders who want to teach on the issues you raised in the way they do.

  2. avatar

    Alen Basic

    I’ve heard it said that the gospel is first preached, then assumed and then lastly, forgotten. So, when I see people preaching “dress standards” instead of modesty and “soul winning” instead of testifying about God’s grace I am somewhat concerned that they are down a slippery trail.

    The people going there are going to listen to what they want to hear, they aren’t hearing anything new. Besides that, they are happy listening to what they are listening to and would see any opposing viewpoint negatively.

    I cannot begin to fathom what efforts would be required to change this and the path of the movement as a whole. Which is why when left with the two options of either trying to intervene, or watch Rome burn down; I pick the latter.

  3. avatar

    Jason Harris

    @PJ, Yeah, my big concern is that “these types of pre-applied messages tend to render the actual Scriptural truth indiscernible from the cultural application.”

    In other words, what God says and what Dr. So&So says are seen at the same level. God say “Do not murder.” God says “Go door-knocking regularly.”

    The danger, and I would argue that it is a matter of life and death, is that God is always right and obedience to him is empowered by his Spirit. But what Dr. So&So says is not always right and is not empowered by God’s spirit. It’s the “yoke” Paul referred to vs. the yoke Jesus referred to. The one that is easy.

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    I take your point Jason and I really can’t speak from experience having only a very limited exposure to the kind of teaching you’re referring to.

    I agree that applying Biblical principles in a particular way ought not to be given the same weight as the principles themselves. I’d be interested to discover whether those that push “door-knocking” or “dress standards” see these as Biblical imperatives or particular ways in which those imperatives are applied.

    The point I would make however, is that the exhortation “to go door-knocking regularly” is not wrong, nor is it necessarily harmful – it is a practical way to fulfil the Great Commission that probably works quite well in a particular cultural context. If church leaders want to exhort Christians to do that here in Australia that’s fine by me and if Christians want to attend churches or conventions where that’s the message then that’s fine by me as well – why should I try and tell them they’re misguided? Wasn’t it Jesus who said, “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.”

    I think its a pretty serious business to suggest that Dr. So&So is not saying the right thing and is not empowered by God’s Spirit. Unless there is clear doctrinal error (and there well may be I don’t know), it’s best to live and let live.

    I think people have to come their own conclusions about what exactly taking that “easy yoke” involves.

  5. avatar

    Jason Harris

    @PJ, Yeah, I think you’re right that it all hangs on whether these applications are viewed as biblical imperatives or not.

    The fact that door-knocking and standards are not necessarily bad things only serves to make the danger more insidious if the applications are indeed viewed as biblical imperatives.

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    Without having heard those sermons referred to, I can relate to those concerns about pre-applied messages and mistaking cultural practices for Scriptural principles.

    Perhaps it is an indictment on the audience’s spiritual maturity (or lack thereof), that is, they need to be spoon fed pre-applied messages because they are unable to make the applications themselves.
    Or maybe it is the preaching style that is at fault in IB circles.

    Jason, can you offer any solutions to the problems seen at the conference?

  7. avatar

    Jason Harris

    @Steve, Yeah, there are probably many factors that led to this situation.

    As far as solutions, I think there are many solutions that need to be implemented as well… for instance, we need more rigorous and credible education, we need a return to primarily expository preaching, we need a profound respect for the Word of God and a profound scepticism for the words of men, we need congregations of discerners, we need courageous men who will not tolerate abuse of the pulpit, we need to elevate the pulpit back to its rightful place… the place for the proclamation of God’s Word, we need more humility, etc.

    Of course that’s a tall order. And a work in progress.

  8. avatar


    I beleive the meetings had a lot of practical ideas that we could take home and use, you have to remember that not all people are pastors,expository preaching is good however for some of us, we need preaching we can use in our every day lives.

  9. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Thanks for the comment Clint.

    The implication of your comment seems to be that expository preaching is not practical and that practical preaching is not expository.

    Is that what you’re intending to say?

  10. avatar


    You can exspose a verse and spend a whole sermon talking about it, which is a good thing, I am not suggesting that you not preach this way, there are some practical aspects to it,but mostly it can be just facts.
    The sermons I heard at the meetings give me something to think about, such as the culture we are living in and the practical ways we can reach the youth today.

  11. avatar

    Jason Harris


    Expository preaching is merely taking a passage of God’s Word and explaining it. Since God’s Word is not “just facts,” it seems to me that such preaching–done properly–would not be “just facts” either. God’s Word is living and powerful and it is the basis for our Christian faith. It is inherently practical because it is the opinion of God.

    Of course I’m not suggesting that all preaching needs to be expository per se. Rather, all preaching must be approached expositorily, even if it is topical or textual. If it is not rooted directly in the Word of Christ, how can we say it is Christian preaching?

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    I agree with your comment, what I am saying is that a message that tells a person what he should be doing in his/her life goes a long way to bringing them in fellowship with God, The messages I heard at the meetings were more practicle that espository.

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