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Thursday, October 2, 2008

XIII. The Church of Culture

How much of the culture should the Church be involved with?  This is time for your feedback...
  • 52%  said that the Church should be in the culture but not of it.
  • 21%  said the Church should be the culture.
  • 15%  said the Church should be completely involved in the culture.
  • 10%  said the Church should stay completely out of the culture.
How much can the Church be involved with the culture and still remain what the church is all about? Does the Church remain apart from the world so it doesn't become worldly? Do we need to change with the culture to remain relevant to a world that seems to scoff at Christianity? Do we run the risk of losing our identity as Christ followers if we try and fit in with the culture?

The Church in Europe is virtually dead.   The chart below shows how much people profess to believe in the Christian God.  If it wasn't for the Pope being in Italy it would be perhaps even lower.  They have let go of God and have lost their hold on society. Europe's culture had spread into the Church and now it is basically gone.  Thank God for the our Catholic brothers and sisters in Africa, Australia, and Latin America or it would be dead there too. We need to pray for those in Asia and the Middle East who are by far out-numbered. The Church in the United States is now losing its grip. Atheism is on the rise faster than any thought/religion in the US.

Why? Maybe it is because we feel compelled to be like the world.  The world sees no difference anymore between the Church and what they preach against.

Maybe, just maybe we have become too complacent and have been assimilated into the world. Doesn't scripture tell us to not be a part of the world? Some will argue that Jesus went into the culture to save people.  But a big question is: did Jesus become part of the culture or did He try and change it while He was in it?  The answer is Jesus did not become part of the culture.  Sure He talked to people like the woman at the well, Zachias, Matthew, and even Pharisees who hated Him, but He did NOT act like them.  He didn't involve Himself with the "orgies" of the culture.  He did not whore Himself out to wim the hearts or trust of people.  He went to them and had compassion on them.  He went to them and confronted them.  I am sure He had fun at the gatherings and events but He did not become part of the culture.  He drove it.  People wanted to be more like Him.  Paul warns us not go after worldly desires. Jude tells us that in the last days there will be those who cause divisions becasue they are worldly minded.

So many questions and no real answers. This next question has never been answered: how much can the Church change and still be the Church?


Anonymous said...

Didn't Jesus eat with the sinner? Didn't he go to the public and meet them where they stood? Why wouldn't the churcg go out inot the world to bring people in?

Browns fan said...

I am one of the 52% of those who voted in the poll and said that the Church should be in the culture but not of it. I base that on these texts. 1 John 2:15-17 & 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

That does not mean we do not make changes in the church in order to attract our world today. I want to attempt to answer the question you said has never been answered: How much can the Church change and still be the Church?

Even though we are uncomfortable, we must understand that this is the culture we are called to minister to. This is our world, and God has placed us here for such a time as this!

The problem is some churches refuse to change and die off while others change everything, including God’s Word. The Church must be culturally relevant while remaining doctrinally pure. Things that never change are Jesus, the Bible, the Divine principle of the Bible, and people with spiritual needs. Things that change are you and I, our culture, and ministry methods.

God is a God of Change! The very first verse of the Bible says, Genesis 1:1—In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God is Creator and He is not very happy when the church tries to stop His creativity. He wants to breathe new life into His church, He wants to minister with all of His creativity and power, but many in the church refuse to change their methodologies because they are worshipping their tradition.

Listen to me closely and make no mistake about it—I am not against tradition, what I am against is traditionalism. Tradition values the past, the way God has moved in history. It has the ability embrace God’s movements in both the past and the future. Traditionalism however, embraces only what has gone before, only what we find pleasing—it places God in a box and tries to trap Him and tell Him what is and is not acceptable, what He can do & cannot do.

When I read through the Bible I find verses that tell me about a “new song”, “a new heaven and earth”, new wine”, “new life”, “new covenant”, “new creation”, “new man”, and a “new command.”

Our God is a God of change and He calls the church to be willing to change with Him. Our culture is radically changing before our very eyes, let’s be ready for it with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by making an absolute commitment to be flexible in our approach to both evangelism and ministry.

Gozreht said...

Yes, Jesus ate with the "sinners" but He did not become one of them. He did not go out and do what they did to bring them the message. He nay have met them where they were but did not leave them there. Too many times I have seen churches blend too much with the culture. I have seen churches leave immature Christians just to go out and get more thinking that since they are still growing in number that they are succeeding. I have heard where a church actually auctioned a car off to get people into the doors. Some times being part of the culture is to the extreme and takes the focus off of the true message.

I will echo your response. But, some churches change for the worse. Some churches change because they have the wrong motives. Change is not always good. Change in of itself is not the problem. Change with the wrong motive or out irresponsibility or out of laziness (you can fill in the blanks here) is the problem. Changing to stay relevant and touching people's lives is okay. Changing just to reach a number is wrong. It is egotistical. It beomes prideful.
When a babies diaper is dirty, you change it. When it gets old and can not function, you change it. When everyone else has blue diapers and you want to fit it with the "in crowd", then change is not needed and becomes prideful.
I know of a church who tries to fit in the suburban mentality by putting on its flyers at the top "Free Starbucks coffee". "Relevant messages" isn't even in the top three. Something is wrong there. What happens if the Starbucks runs out? Serve coffee, who cares. But make sure you keep the main thing, the main thing!
Thanks to both for your honest and heart felt comments. Keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

It's me again. But if you bring them in then you can teach them. Isn't bringing them in important? Ifwe only do things for the church then aren't we saying to people that they can go to hell and we don't care?

Gozreht said...

Please, with all due respect, you are missing the point. No one is going to deny that people need Christ. No one is hoping people go to hell. But what some churches are missing is that just because they are in church doesn't mean that they are okay. If they are hanging onto the ways of the world they are not being helped. If they are hanging onto the ways of the world because that's they way the people in the church are who are mature Christians then something is worng with the Church. Read Galatians. These people were falling away from the truth because others came by and watered down the Word to them. Paul told them that apparently even if an angel came to them and told them the truth they were so lost in the world that they woulod not know what the truth is. Some of today's churches are like that. They are blind to their own worldliness they don't know they are a sick organism. Galatians 1:10 is a great piece of scripture. The Corinthians were into their lustful lifestyles (culture) so much that they forgot what real love was all about. They had the teachings but did not know what the true meaning of the teachings were. They were blinded by their own "spirituality". Don't let that happen to your church. Does that make sense?

Browns fan said...

"Changing just to reach a number is wrong. It is egotistical. It beomes prideful."

I agree with this, especially when I see churches starting satellite church instead of planting and supporting a new church. They get so egostical that they think they are the only ones who know how to do church.

Gozreht said...

Well Browns I couldn't agree more. What is the difference bewteen starting a new church or creating a satellite? One starts and ends in pride. It almost becomes a business. Mergers. Take overs. Why can't they as you say just help a church get replanted or started? I am glad that the church has a great deal of influence in the community that they can become that strong. It's great trhat they can help an area that may not be being reached before the church is planted there. But is there an underlying reason why they do it? If there is then shame on them.

Another point of interest. I was talking to a friend today and we were discussing the election. I told this person that we have become so engrossed with ouor culture that we don't want to change the culture. Because then we would have to change ourselves. and sometimes that is harder to do.

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