Category Archives: Articles on Culture

Unicultural Uniformity

Unicultural Uniformity

This entry is part 35 of 35 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 1 of 10 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 9 of 10 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 8 of 10 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 34 of 35 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 2 of 10 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 33 of 35 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 3 of 10 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 10 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

We Don’t Want Your White Man’s Religion

We Don’t Want Your White Man’s Religion

This entry is part 32 of 35 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In Africa, particularly where black nationalist sentiments arise, it is not uncommon to hear the title of this post thrown around in conversation. Similarly, half-formed sentiments are uttered about missionaries who replaced the harmonious earth-religion of the peaceful indigenous people with their foreign religion, so as to steal their land and subjugate them. The saddest… Continue Reading

The Redemptive Rule of God

The Redemptive Rule of God

This entry is part 7 of 10 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 discussed God’s universal rule over all things through human institutions that he ordained. This Universal Common Kingdom of God encompasses all people, believers and unbelievers alike, who exercise dominion over what he has made and attempt to maintain order and stability in the midst of a cursed world. But this is not… Continue Reading

Christian Culture in Church History

Christian Culture in Church History

This entry is part 31 of 35 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A common error in the study of church history is to seek to find a version of one’s present branch of Christianity in the past. Since Christian doctrine and practice develop over the centuries, trying to find oneself in church history is like trying to find out how people in Shakespeare’s era texted one another,… Continue Reading

The Universal Common Kingdom

The Universal Common Kingdom

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

At the heart of our philosophy of the church’s responsibility toward culture is a proper understanding of how God rules sovereignly over all things, how he specifically rules his redeemed people—particularly now the NT church, and how his rule will culminate in the future. Another way of saying this is that central to a biblical… Continue Reading

Christians, the Church, and Culture

Christians, the Church, and Culture

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Citizens and Exiles You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Evangelicals today are enamored with culture. Visit any Christian blog or pick up a catalogue of recent Christian books, and you will likely find discussions of the cultural mandate, redeeming culture, forming culture, and creating culture. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that despite differences among various kinds of evangelicals such… Continue Reading

The importance of cultural discernment in Christian education

The importance of cultural discernment in Christian education

If Christian educators are intent upon educating their students with truth, both its factual content and the way the truth is imagined, then they must commit to utilize the best of our classical tradition. We have at our fingertips a rich heritage of cultural forms that have grown within value systems that are fully consistent with what it… Continue Reading

Culture, Not Race

Culture, Not Race

This entry is part 30 of 35 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Scripture does not define the word culture, but it certainly describes the phenomenon of culture-making. Humans are meaning-making creatures, who fashion their world after their values, religions, and world-views. The Bible also describes the behavior or way of life that comes from a certain culture. The Greek word anastrophe is translated conduct, or way of… Continue Reading

Culture – More Than Creation

Culture – More Than Creation

This entry is part 29 of 35 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If the word culture is to be useful, it must define something. It must name and describe a discrete phenomenon in the world. A useful definition must limit its subject, so that we could easily say what is not culture. The problem with many definitions found in Evangelical literature is that they seem to include… Continue Reading

Ten Mangled Words – “Culture”

Ten Mangled Words – “Culture”

This entry is part 28 of 35 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Jackhammers are not the ideal tool for mixing cake batter. Some mess will almost certainly result. Evangelical Christians using the word ‘culture’ often remind one of a baker with a such a power tool. When most Evangelicals begin writing or speaking on culture, one winces. A migraine is certainly on its way. The word culture,… Continue Reading

Relevance in the Eye of the Beholder

Relevance in the Eye of the Beholder

This entry is part 27 of 35 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A book on chastity may not seem relevant to teenagers necking in a parked car. First-aid kits don’t seem relevant to two boys beginning a scuffle. Wedding vows don’t appear relevant to a person plunging into an affair. When we are morally committed to a course of action, it narrows the horizon of what we… Continue Reading