Learning to Critique & Celebrate Foreign Cultures with George Oliveira

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At a Glance

When we cross cultural borders to serve others, it is essential for us to learn when to celebrate cultural diversity and when to critique it. This can be tricky! We may instinctively seek to align everything to our cultural norms–but doing so can dangerously lead to the erasure of beautifully unique and diverse elements of foreign culture that bring glory to God. At the same time, there are things within every culture that should be rightly critiqued. Long-time DNA friend, Pastor George Oliveira shares lessons learned as a cross-cultural pastor. He emphasizes the importance of transcending cultural divides with Christian love, and gives us vision to authentically connect with diverse communities while celebrating our shared humanity under the teachings of Jesus.

Special Guest

George Oliveira has been a DNA Kingdomizer for almost 20 years, teaching, training, translating, and creating content for Disciple Nations Alliance. He’s taken every DNA course and continues to serve the Portuguese-speaking DNA family. Oliveira has pastored Lakeland Bible Presbyterian Church in Florida since 2022. Before coming to the U.S. from Brazil, Oliveira earned an undergraduate in music and a degree in theology, all while serving Christ in local church plants, school education, and with Rebeca (his wife) in the home education of his five children.

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What You'll Hear

Using the link above, you can read the transcript or listen along while highlighted text follows the podcast audio.

"You just don’t even think about it. But the Bible has something to say about these kinds of things and it’s probably going to end up challenging both cultures."

Scott Allen [20:36]

Quotes

Christianity is growing very rapidly in places like Brazil, the Global South, and places like Nigeria, China, and Iran. This is a surprise to many people in the West because they see a Church that has plateaued or is shrinking. Over time, this is also resulting in influential Christian leaders coming from the Global South to serve in the North. – Scott Allen [2:18]

 

Darrow Miller taught me, ‘If you want to be a cross-cultural missionary, you have to understand three worldviews. You have to understand the worldview from the culture that you grew up in. What is that dominant worldview? It’s shaped you way more than you realize. What’s the worldview of the culture that you’re going to? And then, thirdly, what’s the worldview of the Bible? The Bible has a worldview, right, it has a view of reality, of what it means to be human, of good and evil and everything else.’ So you have to understand three worldviews; and I think the hardest worldview to understand is your own, because we are in bubbles, right, I mean, we just are raised in it, we swim in it. You know, all day long, all day, we don’t have perspective on it until we move outside. – Scott Allen [5:38]

The hardest culture to evaluate is your own.

“The biblical worldview is the objective worldview. My ‘cultural worldview’ is not the objective one, and neither is the foreign culture’s worldview where I travel … There’s only one reality, and we need to realize that that reality is described by what God has made, and it’s also been described in the Scriptures and they align with one another.” – Darrow Miller [7:38]

This is where a lot of missionaries in the past have made mistakes. They think, ‘hey, I need to get whatever the culture I’m being a missionary in to be more like my home culture.’ No, the goal is not to get that culture to be more like your home culture, it’s to have both cultures be more like the true biblical worldview. – Scott Allen [8:30]

Birthday parties in America like start at two and finish at four and everybody leaves. In Brazil, you linger until you can’t stand. It’s funny. I’m not saying that one is bad and the other is good. – George Oliveira [17:58]

We should notice these differences and then be prompted to come back to the true, the biblical and ask questions about how the Bible shapes our understanding – and it’s maybe the first time you’ve ever asked a question like this. You just don’t even think about it. But the Bible has something to say about these kinds of things and it’s probably going to end up challenging both cultures. – Scott Allen [20:36]



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When the principles of the Bible are understood as a comprehensive worldview, it has tremendous power to work transformation in individuals, families, communities, and even nations. Too often, Christians are ineffective because they have absorbed cultural thinking that is not in alignment with truth.

Not all worldviews are equal. Some lead to brokenness and poverty, while the biblical worldview leads to God’s intended flourishing and the blessing of the nations. Our Kingdomizer Training Program can help you understand the biblical worldview and discover areas in your own thinking that need to be transformed by God’s Word.

More than a million people have now been trained in 115 countries. Get started with our completely free Kingdomizer Training Program today!

Now available with online training videos in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, German, Korean, Kiswahili, and Bangla.

Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures

The power of the gospel to transform individual lives has been clearly evident throughout New Testament history. But what of the darkness and poverty that enslaves entire cultures, even nations? Have Christians underestimated the power of God’s truth to transform entire societies? Have Christians underestimated the power of God’s truth to transform entire societies? In Discipling Nations, Darrow Miller builds a powerful and convincing thesis that God’s truth not only breaks the spiritual bonds of sin and death but can free whole societies from deception and poverty. Completely revised and updated for the third edition, Discipling Nations will challenge, reenergize, and equip Christians everywhere who labor to see His kingdom come, His will be done. Also available in other languages.

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