Tag Archives: Articles on Culture

Ten Mangled Words – “Equality”

Ten Mangled Words – “Equality”

This entry is part of 36 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

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 35 of 36 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

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 34 of 36 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

The church’s mission is not societal transformation

The church’s mission is not societal transformation

The church’s primary responsibility in this age is gospel proclamation and making disciples. Members of the church are destined to reign over a restored earth when Jesus returns. But in this age before Jesus comes again, the church’s mission is not cultural or societal transformation. This does not mean the church has no concern for… 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 33 of 36 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

Israel and the Two Kingdoms

Israel and the Two Kingdoms

Nationally, Israel was a religious-political entity—a theocracy, a God-ruled institution. Israel was basically a governmental entity that had a very wide social dimension much of which was peculiar to the nation. The Law of Moses expressed the divinely-given legal covenant that forged the Hebrew tribes into a kingdom of priests (Exod 19:6); it codified the… 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

We Don’t Want Your White Man’s Religion

We Don’t Want Your White Man’s Religion

This entry is part 32 of 36 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

Holiness in Culture

Holiness in Culture

The Bible is clear with regard to the behavior of Christians—it is to be holy. James states of a Christian, “by his good conduct (anastrophēs) let him show his works” (Jas 3:13). Likewise Peter commands Christians to “be holy in all [their] conduct (anastrophē)” (1 Peter 1:15), and Paul commands Timothy to set an example “in conduct (anastrophē)”… Continue Reading