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Transforming Culture, 2nd Edition

A Challenge for Christian Mission

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"Creatively and incisively written. It is highly recommended to those studying the relationship of Christianity and culture and to missionaries working cross-culturally."--Gailyn Van Rheenen, Restoration Quarterly


In reviewing the first edition of Transforming Culture Roger Dixon wrote, "Every once in awhile, a book appears which has the potential to change one's life and work. Transforming Culture is one of those books." Now Sherwood Lingenfelter offers an updated version of this important manual for cross-cultural workers.

Lingenfelter sets out a model for understanding the workings of a society and then applies this model to conflicts missionaries and nationals often face over economic and social issues, such as property, labor and productivity, generosity and exchange, and authority in the family and community. Utilizing a plethora of case studies and personal anecdotes, he identifies the root of the conflicts and contradictory assumptions that make it difficult for missionaries and nationals to work together, and guides readers to solutions for transforming culture.

The author explains that the cross-cultural worker--evangelist, church planter, teacher, nurse, community developer, linguist, literacy worker, translator--will discover the social roots of interpersonal conflict endemic to living and working with people of different cultural and social heritages. When we carefully examine ourselves, we shall be forced to admit that, more often than not, we conform theology to practice; we perceive the kingdom of God on earth in our own cultural terms.

The author has made the second edition more accessible than the first by clarifying concepts, adding case studies, and reducing the book's length.



The Author

  1. Sherwood G. Lingenfelter

    Sherwood G. Lingenfelter

    Sherwood G. Lingenfelter (PhD, University of Pittsburgh), a senior statesman among evangelical anthropologists, is provost emeritus and senior professor of anthropology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He has written numerous books,...

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"Transforming Culture is creatively and incisively written. It is highly recommended to those studying the relationship of Christianity and culture and to missionaries working cross-culturally."--Gailyn Van Rheenen Restoration Quarterly

"This book will enhance your other reading about culture and missions. It will help you solve problems not only in church planting, but also in mission-church relationships."--W. Harold Fuller Evangelical Missions Quarterly

"An excellent integration of anthropological research with biblical correlation and personal insights."--Edward L. Harris, Journal of Research on Christian Education

"Rarely in new books on missions do we find ones with new theoretical insights, or with ready application in ministry. In this volume we find both. . . . This is an important contribution to missiology."--Paul G. Hiebert

"The great value of Lingenfelter's work is that it provides a tool for analysis to be used in any cross-cultural context. Pastors and other Christian workers will benefit greatly. In a changing world, how important to be able to analize, to understand and discover meanings in the seemingly strange new behavior of the people around us. . . . The author demonstrates the use of the grid-group concept through diagrams, case studies, and examples. This tool comprises a unique and valuable contribution of the book. . . . Transforming Culture is essential reading for practitioners and shapers of the Christian mission in today's world."--Roger E. Hedlund, Dharma Deepika