CULTURE & CHRISTIANITY

Kevin Rutherford

 

Many Jews were living unfaithful and ungodly lives when Jesus came to this earth.John the baptizer and Jesus the Christ preached to them a much needed message of repentance (Mark 1:4-15).Because of the poor example given by so many Jews the name of God was blasphemed by the Gentiles (Romans 2).The hypocritical Jews were still professing to be followers of God but they had given in to the wicked culture of the day and God was not pleased.

When Christianity began to spread to Gentile cities such as Corinth, Christianity dramatically stood out.The pagans had become extremely vile, grotesque, and immoral in their daily and religious practices.Fornication was openly practiced, homosexuality was common, and adultery was the norm.The apostles worked very hard to convert people from the culture and to make of Christians a separate and holy people (I Corinthians 6:9-11).

The New Testament specifically and clearly teaches Christians to be different from the culture in which they live any time that culture conflicts with godly and moral living (Romans 12:1, 2).We are not surprised to hear that many of the denominations of men are trying to mold Christianity into a form that pleases those who are tied to the current culture.This is, after all, how the Catholic Church had its beginning.The Catholic Church is a merger of Jewish, Christian, and pagan religious beliefs.The Catholics brought in many pagan religions practices and gave them Christian sounding names in order to appeal to the pagans.They compromised with culture and created a new religion that is distinctly different from New Testament Christianity.

It is wrong, sinful, immoral, and wicked to change the church in order to fit into the ever-changing culture in which it lives.The standard for the church is, and always shall be the New Testament (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).This is the same Gospel that called people to a different life in the first century and which does the same in the twenty-first century.We are not interested in giving everybody what they want.Rather, we are devoted to giving God what He wants.We do not intend to wet our finger and put it to the wind in order to determine direction for the church.Instead we look to Godís Word to guide us.

Cultural compromisers in the churches of Christ are not ashamed to twist and distort Christianity into a contemporary religion that is not modeled after the pattern in the New Testament.To appeal to the entertainment emphasis in culture they bring in instruments, vocal bands, and choirs.To appeal to the subjective philosophy underlying cultural thought they teach that one does not need to be baptized to be saved, and that one can be added to a man made church and still be saved.They have no respect for the unique authority of Christ to establish His church, nor do they care for the unique character and identity of the church which He established.

Our culture actively promotes homosexuality.Now some in the church are seeking to justify this sinful action (Romans 1:26-28). Some in our culture are promoting a culture of death which seeks to slaughter more and more unborn, innocent children. This despite the fact that murder is a terrible sin (1 John 3:15). How long will it be before Christians compromise with this terrible tragedy?

Christians are giving in to the cultural norms on modesty, and allowing their children to do the same (Galatians 5:19-21). Their children dress like the world in revealing clothing designed to entice lust. Their children engage in the lewdness and lasciviousness of dancing. Their children go to proms where the prelude to fornication is promoted by the revealing dresses, and sexual dances. Their sons wear next to nothing at the water parks, and their daughters dress in mini-skirts as cheerleaders, and they call themselves Christians. They have all compromised with the culture. They are losing their children to the world. They are hand feeding the souls of their offspring to the roaring lion who seeks to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).

Someone once said the church is like a boat and the culture is like the water. The boat has to be in the water, but you donít want the water in the boat. The church has to exist within the culture but you donít want the culture in the church (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). The arrogant, yet troubled church at Corinth boasted of their tolerance of immorality within the church (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2). Congregations of the Lordís church do the very same thing today. When elders, and preachers should be leading the congregation in purging out the leaven they are instead stirring it around and helping it to spread (I Corinthians 5:4-8).

Swirling, churning, bubbling, and racing are the vile and wicked aspects to our 21st century American culture. Those deadly currents of sin and compromise will pull you under, immerse you in the world, and drown your soul in damnation. ďI beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 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 GodĒ (Romans 12:1, 2).