This post concludes my series on the New Testament implications of the idea that culture is behavior. Here are all the implications:
- New Testament authors explain cultural differences between various people groups as differences of belief and value.
- New Testament authors identify people groups (ethnicities, tribes, nations, etc.) as those of common ancestral heritage who share common culture flowing from common values.
- New Testament authors demand that the culture of Christians be holy, pure, and distinct from the culture of unbelievers.
- New Testament authors proclaim Christianity as a new and distinct people group that shares new values and thus new culture.
- New Testament authors insist that a clear distinction between the culture of believers and unbelievers will have evangelistic impact.
- Where similarities do exist between the behavior of unbelievers and the conduct of believers, such behavior by unbelievers is due to the fact that on that particular issue they are borrowing biblical values.
Christians in the twenty-first century will not be able to escape wrestling through matters of culture and contextualization as they seek to accomplish the mission God has for them. Yet rather than adopting the understanding of culture developed by secular anthropologists, Christians should be willing to reorient that viewpoint to fit within the biblical categories of behavior and conduct, applying all that the Scripture has to offer about those categories to cultural matters. Only then will they be equipped to appropriate a truly biblical perspective on culture and contextualization for world evangelism, worship, and the entirety of church ministry.