Mostly this post is to point you to read and consider an article of the same name on the Global Theology webpage.
I would like to add first, though, that the issue is quite relevant to Missions.
- One of my students is writing a paper on expressing the message of the Gospel to Theravada Buddhists in Myanmar. The paper notes that differences between Christian and Buddhist doctrine are actually lesser problems. The bigger problems are that Buddhists there think of Christianity as foreign, Western, and colonialist. Christ is seen as a Western religious teacher, rather than Asian. Also Christian teachings as filtered through the Western Church has expressed itself theologically in the language and concerns of Europeans and Americans rather than Asians.
- Some revolts against Christianity have sprung from misconceptions about what actually constitutes Christianity, and thus “Why is Christ”? An obvious one is the revolt by many African-Americans against Christianity in the 1960s and early 1970s based on the woefully misinformed view that Muslims were less gleefully involved in the African slave trade than Christians. Christian missionaries have also supported some social ills, such as in creating “caste churches” or encouraging ethnic churches (by drawing people away from of ethnically diverse churches) in an ‘end justifies the means’ attempt towards church growth through homogeneous grouping. This latter activity may have drawn some… but it has soured many more.
If Christ cannot be seen as representing all groups within humanity, He cannot be seen as representing humanity and providing hope for humanity. If Christ cannot be seen as providing hope for all humanity, than Christianity certainly is not for all peoples.
Anyway, before this becomes a full post, I will stop here and recommend you visit Reclaiming Jesus in Diversity.
I suppose this also leads back to my book for Bible School students— Ministry in Diversity: Applied Cultural Anthropology for a Multicultural World.