The Bible Calls Christians to Make Individual Disciples, Not to “Change Culture” Nor to Save, Redeem Culture Nor to Save or Promote Marriage or Manufacture Christianized Entertainment
I remember there being Bible passages where Christ asked followers to make disciples. I recall Apostle Paul telling believers to police each other rather than sit about in judgment of Non Christians.
And yet, my fellow social conservatives (many of whom are Christian) keep telling other Christians to engage in a culture war, fight against abortion, fight against homosexual marriage, promote marriage, and save, redeem, or change the culture.
The Bible nowhere asks Christians to save marriage or culture.
Jesus Christ died on the cross to make amends between individual sinners and God. He did not die to clean up culture or save marriage.
I am not in favor of abortion or homosexual marriage.
I am not saying it is wrong for Christians to “fight” against those things via voting for politicians who promise to vote against such things. I am opposed to the amount of emphasis evangelicals place on these things.
I see headlines such as this and shake my head at the misplaced energy:
BY STOYAN ZAIMOV, CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
December 11, 2013|10:45 am
A Christian initiative seeking to build a network of leaders committed to centering the “Seven Mountains of Culture” to the values of Jesus Christ, is urging Christians to be active in engaging and transforming culture outside of church walls.
Pinnacle Forum, which was inspired by Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, has made it its vision to “see God at the center of our culture,” and since 1996 has spread from a local ministry in Phoenix, Ariz., to a global movement.
With a strategy to gather Christian leaders in confidential forums and equip them with the tools to impact society with Christian ideals, the Forum seeks to engage the “seven mountains of culture,” which it identifies as Arts and Entertainment, Business, Education, Family, Government/Military, Media, and Religion.
The Christian Post sat down on Monday with Steve Fedyski, president – CEO of Pinnacle Forum, who talked about some of those “mountains of culture,” the vision and mission of the network initiative and some of the projects its members are involved in which are sparking a real positive change in culture.
Below is an edited version of the interview:
CP: How is God missing from the ‘cultural mountains’ of today?
Fedyski: Let’s look at the education mountain. Back in the 60s, we took our prayer from the schools. So what has happened since? We can’t even proclaim or pray at our schools. So right there, the education mountain has taken God right out of the school system. You can’t even have the Bible as a devotional at our own schools.
The other things, like media – is our media advocating God? Is it advocating Christianity, or a culture that will please God? I’d say not. If you look at our film industry, what kind of films are coming out? What kind of television is coming out?
If God was in it, you’d have Christian films in the mainstream. You’d have our Media talking and advocating positive things, not always talking about the negative impacts of culture.
… CP: What are some projects Pinnacle Forum members are currently working on?
Fedyski: One is by Chuck Stetson, who is a venture capitalist in New York City. Chuck had a passion to get the Bible as literature in high schools.
And so the idea is, you can’t get the devotional Bible into a public school – it’s against our laws.
However, you can actually get the Bible as literature into an elective course into public school.
And so this project was inspired and birthed by a Pinnacle Forum partner, he rallied some private and public center support, and now, a few years later, the Bible is taught as an elective course in over 700 hundred high schools and over 43 states have approved and accepted this into their schools.
This is what I mean about rallying the troops for a common cause.
Seventy-one percent of students who have taken that course said that they would use the Bible as a guidepost for their life.
And now they see a reason for studying the word of God and the Bible.
A civic project, brought in by Christians to the public schools has resulted in more people being aware of the influence of the Bible.
— end article excerpts—-
Here’s the rare Christian editorial: one that doesn’t pin all blame on culture:
David Wells misses the deeper problem with modern-day spirituality
Review by James K. A. Smith[ posted 11/22/2013 5:28 PM
… Wells—a historical and systematic theologian at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary—has a fairly simple “big idea”: a tale of loss and recovery.
Culture has corrupted the church, and renewal means returning to a set of views we have lost.
The argument is couched in potted histories that paint thinly with broad brushes, highlighting how the church has been corrupted by modernity and, especially, postmodernity. For Wells, the word is shorthand for everything-wrong-with-the-world.
The genre is pitched somewhere between jeremiad and rant, with predictable protests, retreaded clichés, and lots of complaints about the 1960s. It’s like how I would expect a theological grandfather to harrumph about “kids these days.” It will convince no one who doesn’t already agree.
Because we’ve listened to the culture rather than Scripture, we’ve been suckered into a therapeutic rather than a moral view of God: God is reduced to a Therapist and Concierge. Even many conservative evangelicals effectively worship the god of Oprah. On this point, Wells’s diagnosis is helpful.
…First, both the analysis and the prescription [by the book’s author] traffic in false dichotomies. “The shaping of our life is to come from Scripture and not from culture,” Wells writes.
But isn’t Scripture itself the product of a culture (many cultures), and doesn’t the gospel invite us into the alternative culture of the body of Christ?
Our goal is not a biblical viewpoint bereft of culture, but a cultural formation that’s biblically infused.
— end article excerpts—-
The reviewer is getting beaten up in the comment section, but I find it hopeful when some Christians don’t jump aboard the culture wars obsession as others are prone to do.
Edit. But then I spot nonsense like this (as reported by IMonk), which discusses, among other insanity, a Christian group called “Faith Driven Consumer”:
(Link): Beyond Christmas Wars – Boycotts: Faith-Driven Consumers?, written by Chaplin Mike
- Here, in the midst of Christmas shopping season, your faithful Internet Monk secret shopper has found you a new way to exercise power as a person of faith in our culture.
It seems that the Joint Chiefs of the evangelical-industrial complex have devised a new strategy in the ongoing battle against cultural decline.
Moving beyond the “Christmas Wars” approach of boycotting businesses that purportedly offend the faithful, an online advocacy group named Faith Driven Consumer now enables you as a believer to direct your shopping dollars toward businesses that “welcome us and respect our values.”
And they want businesses to know that “we’re ready, willing and able to switch our loyalties to brands that include us.”
FDC publishes a Christmas Guide as well as buying guides for other seasons and holidays which provide rankings to help Christians choose the retailers and corporations they would like to support with their business.
What criteria does Faith Driven Consumer use to evaluate companies?
Pro-life: “This category evaluates the degree to which a company’s actions and policies align with the biblical pro-life worldview – with particular attention paid to issues surrounding the direct or indirect support of abortion, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia.”
Biblical Sexuality, Marriage and Family: “This category evaluates the degree to which a company’s actions and policies align with the biblical worldview on sexuality, marriage and family – with particular attention paid to issues involving attempts to redefine gender, marriage and family and normalize homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism in the economic arena and broader culture.”
Non-pornographic Materials: “This category evaluates the degree to which a company’s actions and policies promote the production, distribution and sale of products or materials that objectify, degrade, diminish or deface the image of God we humans bear as male and female – particularly when it depicts unwholesome, unseemly, titillating behavior and nudity in ways intended to objectify others and/or cause sexual excitement.”
Wholesome Entertainment: “This category evaluates the overall wholesomeness of entertainment content produced, distributed or supported by companies in the form of books, magazines, television shows, movies, internet, music, video games, advertisements and more.”
You say in The Church for the World that Christian public witness has gone awry in the United States. How so?
The main problem is that Christian presence in public life tends to be triumphalistic. The purpose of Christian witness is to point to Jesus and the reign of God he embodies, but a triumphal presence actually contradicts Jesus’ way of being in the world as depicted in the Gospels.
The triumphal character of Christian witness has contributed a good deal to how polarized our society and churches have become.
Christians so thoroughly disagree about war, sexuality, ecological care, immigration and other issues that we wind up on opposing sides of the political spectrum.
This is cause for great concern, because partisan politics ends up defining what is Christian; it shapes the way we think and speak about public issues.
It is possible, though, for Christians to take a stand on specific social and political matters without binding the church to partisan politics. We have biblical and theological resources to help us reframe issues and offer something new—a third way.
Do you have a certain group of Protestants in mind when you talk about a triumphalistic presence?
Fundamentalists, evangelicals and mainline Protestants all display some confusion about the public role of Christian faith in a pluralistic society.
We haven’t reflected enough on some basic questions of Christian faith, such as: What exactly is the content of the good news that Christians are to proclaim?
What is the relationship between the church and “the world”? What claims should Christians be making about Jesus through our social and political engagement?
… What does this mean for the shape of Christian witness to Jesus?
Because Jesus redeems the world in the form of a sinner, the church participates in God’s healing transformation of this world in the same way—by being present in public life not as standard-bearers of morality but as repenting sinners seeking to accept responsibility for social sin and injustice. A political witness grounded in the cross accepts responsibility for sin out of the same divine love for human beings.
… Christians communicate to others that we are specially favored when we position ourselves as judges over society and standard-bearers of morality.
For about 30 years Protestants of all stripes have turned public witness into battles over morality.
This presumption not only contradicts the great Protestant truth that “no one is righteous” but God (Rom. 3:9), it also contradicts Jesus, who did not present himself as a model of moral righteousness but belonged wholly to the world by taking the form of a sinner in public life.
… What younger generations are turned off by, it seems to me, is an attitude of moral superiority or judgmentalism that accompanies many attempts at public engagement. Through an alternative mode of confession and repentance, Christians present themselves before others not as models of righteousness but as people in need of constant conversion. This disposition takes seriously Jesus’ command in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not judge [others],” even as it allows Christians to make certain ethical judgments about injustice in society.
— end excerpts—
The Apostle Paul wrote:
(1 Corinthians 5)
- I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside.