The real world ministry problem addressed in this dissertation is: the confident announcement of the gospel as propositional truth is met with suspicion, appears arrogant, inappropriate, and less compelling in culturally pluralistic contexts where postmodern influence is greatest and Christian presence is weakest. This problem will be addressed by proposing a recovery of Christian formation for missional incarnational engagement in the way of Jesus as a narrative approach to proclaiming the gospel.
Section 1 will discuss the problem of how those trained in propositional forms of gospel witness can be helped to understand how the rise of postmodern influence in certain cultural contexts has challenged the ability of Protestant evangelicals to be heard when proclaiming the gospel as propositional truth. In Section 2, we will show that the antidote to postmodernity’s suspicion of words, language, and reason is incarnation by reviewing a variety of perspectives, all of which share in common one very real solution. Section 3 will show that the biblical and theological basis for addressing the challenge of gospel witness in postmodern contexts can be seen in the incredible shaping power of gospel narrative found in incarnational practice. Section 4 briefly describes the thesis, that recovering Christian formation for missional/incarnational engagement in the way of Jesus is the antidote. This section outlines a practical solution in the form of a book which is a look at the incredible shaping power of narrative organized around six incarnational practices of Jesus and the early church in Luke/Acts, which can be used as a curriculum. Section 5 identifies the research basis to support this thesis with three conversation partners: Scripture, church tradition, and culture. Section 6 provides an overview of the project specifications for the book. Section 7 is a postscript that will review, evaluate, and offer suggestions for further study.