Category Archives: Articles on Culture

We Cannot Go Back! Says who?

We Cannot Go Back! Says who?

John Mark N. Reynolds has written an insightful article about how many evangelical thinkers have come to believe in the myth of progress. “Evangelical Whiggery” is a term that is new to me, but it sums up the tendency among many evangelicals to assimilate every new cultural development as though it were special revelation. There… Continue Reading

Equality and Distinctions

Equality and Distinctions

This entry is part of 37 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Those who believe in cosmic justice are actually at war with nature. If you desire to have all people have absolutely equal opportunities (as in our sprint race example) by manipulating all kinds of variables, you are actually fighting against the created order. You are fighting biology, genetics, and indeed, providence. If you’re a Cosmic… Continue Reading

Ten Mangled Words – “Equality”

Ten Mangled Words – “Equality”

This entry is part 1 of 37 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Equality is one of those ideas whose basic meaning is understood, but whose presence is demanded where it cannot possibly be expected. After all, equality is a fairly simply concept: when two amounts are equal, neither is greater or lesser than the other. But while equality in mathematics is a simple matter, equality in human… Continue Reading

What’s wrong with the recent evangelical “social justice” movements?

What’s wrong with the recent evangelical “social justice” movements?

The term “social justice” has become quite a buzz word in evangelical circles in recent years. Social matters like immigration, racial reconciliation, and sexuality are taking center stage in conferences and online discussions, with loud voices expressing strong options. Other voices are beginning to object to the direction of such discussions, expressing concerns over the… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 6: Love for Christ and New Testament Authority

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 6: Love for Christ and New Testament Authority

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This is the sixth post in this series (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5). The whole of the first five parts could be summarized in the final paragraph of the last post: In sum, the Christian religion is subservient to Christ’s authority. Christ gave that authority to his apostles and prophets, and they sealed… Continue Reading

The Two Kingdoms and Immigration Policy

The Two Kingdoms and Immigration Policy

I just completed last week a series of posts explaining what I believe to be a biblical doctrine of the differing responsibilities individual Christians and corporate churches have toward culture, and the distinct role government authority has in ruling civil matters. Contrary to many within evangelicalism today, it is very important to recognize these differences;… Continue Reading

The Church, Christians, and Culture: Conclusion

The Church, Christians, and Culture: Conclusion

This entry is part 13 of 13 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Over the past several weeks, I have presented a brief sketch of a conservative Christian posture toward culture more faithful to Scripture than much of what constitutes the prevailing evangelical perspective. Despite caricatures by opponents, and extreme abuses by some, this philosophy provides a basis for a rather robust philosophy of cultural engagement, which could… Continue Reading

Restraint

Restraint

This entry is part 12 of 13 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The Bible does not give the church a social mandate, but as we saw last week, churches should equip their people with how to live Christianly in whatever cultural sphere God has called them. This does not mean churches will have no impact on the society at large. Churches may indeed have an effect upon… Continue Reading

The Church and Christian Cultural Involvement

The Church and Christian Cultural Involvement

This entry is part 11 of 13 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week, I made the case that the church’s mission is narrow and unique; it is not cultural or societal transformation, but rather the exclusively redemptive goal of making disciples. Nevertheless, because members of churches may certainly be involved in various cultural endeavors as citizens of the common kingdom, the church does have a secondary… Continue Reading

Unicultural Uniformity

Unicultural Uniformity

This entry is part 36 of 37 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Of the little pilot-fish words that swim alongside the more commonly mangled word, culture, two of the more frequently heard are multicultural and diversity. In fact, these have become unquestioned, and probably unassailable holy-words in modern culture. A competitive company will have somewhere on its Vision and Mission statement, “Our core-values include a commitment to… Continue Reading

Vocation

Vocation

This entry is part 9 of 13 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I mentioned that the common evangelical view of kingdom theology has led to errant thinking about Christian work in society that either dismisses the validity of work other than “full time Christian service” or (more recently) validates work in society by insisting that it is “kingdom work.” A proper understanding of the two… Continue Reading

Resident Aliens

Resident Aliens

This entry is part 8 of 13 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

There is a real sense in which Christians, analogous to Israel in exile, are dual citizens—resident aliens. Christians are first and foremost citizens of the redemptive kingdom, but they are also citizens of God’s Universal common Kingdom along with every other human being. And thus, Christians contribute to society, submit to and pray for governmental… Continue Reading

Residents

Residents

This entry is part 7 of 13 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last time, we considered the fact that Scripture describes Christians as exiles who are not of the world and must not love or be conformed to the world. Instead, we should consider ourselves distinct from the unbelieving peoples and cultures around us. Yet this is not the complete picture of the Christian situation. The presence… Continue Reading

Pagan Culture and Apostate Culture

Pagan Culture and Apostate Culture

This entry is part 35 of 37 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In discussions of evangelizing the post-modern West, something is often forgotten. Those cultures which were formed by Christianity and have since abandoned it are not reverting to paganism. They are not pagan cultures. They are apostate cultures, and an apostate culture is a much scarier animal than a pagan one. C.S. Lewis wrote on how… Continue Reading

Why equating culture with ethnicity is inherently racist

Why equating culture with ethnicity is inherently racist

Despite my many protestations (including a whole book addressing the topic), it is still quite common within Evangelical circles to equate culture and ethnicity. I was recently reminded of this when a popular evangelical leader argued in a well-publicized conference that in order to repair what he believes to be systemic racial divides within evangelicalism,… Continue Reading

Exiles

Exiles

This entry is part 6 of 13 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Over the past several weeks, I have shown how Scripture describes the rule of God in two ways, in terms of his sovereign universal rule over all things, and in terms of his redemptive rule over his chosen people. I’ve made the argument that the union of these two “kingdoms” will not take place until… Continue Reading

Missionaries and Culture

Missionaries and Culture

This entry is part 34 of 37 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Missionaries do their work in a perilous environment. Such has been the rise of ideas such as “multi-culturalism”, that many missionaries now go by a different title: aid–workers, social-workers, educators, or even consultants. Opting for different titles is understandable. In the popular imagination, missionary is increasingly synonymous with colonialist, imperialist, or patronizing religious types “forcing” their… Continue Reading

Future Union of the Two Kingdoms

Future Union of the Two Kingdoms

This entry is part 5 of 13 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The nation of Israel was a union of the Universal and Redemptive rules of God on earth, but as we saw last week, the nation’s disobedience and indifference resulted in a termination of that union when God’s Shekinah glory departed from the Temple. This does not cancel God’s promise that one day the two kingdoms… Continue Reading

Two Kingdoms

Two Kingdoms

This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Over the past two weeks I have laid out a biblical case for understanding the reality of two kingdoms: a universal kingdom, God’s sovereign superintendence over all things, including creation and human institutions, cultures, and societies, and a redemptive kingdom, God’s specific rule over his redeemed people. Because of Adam’s failure, these two kingdoms are at… Continue Reading