I have made this Part 1 because I am still thinking it over and may have more to write later. Also, please don’t be offended if I use some generalizations…not every generalization fits every person. I understand.
There has been a movement over the history of Christianity to merge culture with religion. Often culture is absorbed into the church or religious systems are absorbed into a culture.
I listened to a conference recently on “Prophetic Evangelism”. It was good. One of the things one of the speakers said is that in today’s society (I’m not so sure this is true everywhere but it is certainly true in the west) people look at spirituality as a buffet. We walk up to this long buffet of all the religious systems and we just take what we like. “Oh, karma, that sound interesting…I’ll take it” (by the way, karma is Satan’s counterfeit for God’s universal law of reaping and sowing) . We pick and choose what we like. It is nothing less than relativism.
In Christian circles when we hear something that we find distasteful or we simply do not wish to incorporate into our belief system we often chalk it up to “This is our culture today”. Or worse yet, “that was their culture then…it doesn’t apply to us today”.
Some things are SIN no matter what your culture is; no matter what your family background; no matter where you are from.
There are some things in our culture that originate from our “family” culture. They are related to heritage. Some things are related to community. Some things are related to socio-economic backgrounds.
Okay, now to the juicy part. This is where things might sticky. I am going to use some examples. I’ve noticed lately that there are many celebrities who hook-up, have a baby and then maybe they get married. This seems to be a popular trend…in fact it has almost become the norm.
I know a family who has embraced this trend. Three of the daughters and one of the sons had children before they were married and one of the daughters had two children outside of marriage. These are professing Christians who attend church. They seem unrepentant. It is as if, if they repent and say they were wrong to have sex outside of the bounds of marriage, they are saying their child is not a blessing from God. I would say to them…of course your child is a gift from God. The child being from God does not change the fact that how the circumstances surround their conception. A sin is still a sin.
It is not only the celebrity culture in which this is acceptable behavior. The family I described is from a minority background in which these types of events occur frequently…it is the norm. In their extended family, it is not surprising or shocking when someone has a child with someone they are not married to. Does the fact that this is acceptable in our culture make it okay? Certainly not! Yet, it seems to happen all the time.
There is sin in the body of Christ and it is simply not acceptable. We veil our sin by calling it the culture. We embrace the culture as a form of outreach. We do not have to look like and act like the world in order to reach them for Christ. The Bible says, when we lift Jesus up, He will draw all men unto Him. We have acclimated to the culture instead of infiltrating it.
Here in Texas we have some blended cultures. The Hispanic culture, the Mexican culture, the Texas culture. Texas culture is very proud…”Don’t Mess with Texas” (which my the way is an anti-litter campaign). Mexican culture tends to be one of poverty. The Hispanic culture, sometimes adopts the Texas thing…my husband says, “raza” (not sure that is spelled correctly) but it is the “Hispanic Pride” idea to perpetuate the race and adopt keep it strong. The spiritual culture here is somewhat blended as well. Many Christians will unknowingly participate in witchcraft spells in the name of culture. (One particular spell is when a someone is sick, they will take and egg and do a prayer while running the egg up and down the sick person’s body…the sickness supposedly goes into the egg and then they crack it).
One of the reasons we fear breaking culture and family traditions is because we will have to admit that grandma, or paw-paw was wrong. (That’s how my mom did it… Why did she do it that way? What is the Biblical Basis?)
What about religious culture? Churches seem to establish their own little cultures; things they do and say that are unique to them. I heard a message Bishop Tudor Bismark preached in Houston Texas at Dr. Richard Heard’s church. One things he said that echoed in me was, “We wonder why God is moving at the church down the street. They do not even preach truth. They worship idols there. But we have set up our doctrine as an idol and we have bowed down and worshipped it”. This blows me away. How many times have we erected an idol out of our doctrine…the doctrines of men? Jesus said it like this, (Matthew 15:9) “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” How many “rules” have men setup and developed into doctrine? It’s crazy…it’s schizophrenic. At one church you are told it is a sin if your sleeves aren’t at least past your elbows (as if seeing a women’s elbow caused a man to lust) and at another church caffeine is defiling your temple. Many churches have created a culture that worships a belief system rather than the Creator.
We must stop blaming our sin on the culture we live in. We have embraced the culture…we let it in. We have watched every tv show and movie the culture told us to watch (media). We have dressed in the clothes they told us are “in”. We drink the drinks they recommend (Starbucks). We listen to their music. We have taken it all in and absorbed it until we think like they think and we do what they do. A sin is still a sin. We can no longer blame it on our culture. It isn’t our culture it is our very own sin nature.
So how can we change??
1. We must change the way we think.
2. We must be in the world, function in the world but not take on the world’s belief system or way of thinking.
3. We must acknowledge that there is a standard to live by…the Bible.
4. In order to live according to the Bible we must know the Bible, this means study it, commit it to memory and follow it’s dictates.
5. We must acknowledge when we fail to live up to the Bible (we all fail from time to time) we have sinned and we must repent for that sin.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.