Tag Archives: Articles on Culture

Co-opted

Co-opted

Too many of our churches function as secular entertainment centers with religious morals slapped on top, when they should be functioning as the living, breathing Body of Christ. Too many churches have succumbed to modernity, rejecting the wisdom of past ages, treating worship as a consumer activity, and allowing parishioners to function as unaccountable, atomized members.… Continue Reading

The Benedict Option: The Christian Option

The Benedict Option: The Christian Option

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Rod Dreher’s much anticipated book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, is how unremarkable his proposal really is. Yet it is a profoundly necessary correction for an American Christianity that has lost its biblical moorings and become just as secular as the culture around… Continue Reading

On the meaning of “culture

On the meaning of “culture

Mahoney’s assessment of how the word “culture” has evolved to describe almost anything in human civilization is correct; I trace this evolution in By the Waters of Babylon. My solution to this evolved redefinition was to connect the current definition with the New Testament, and then to specify the term “high culture” for what “culture” used… Continue Reading

Attracting the masses

Attracting the masses

With the fall of Christendom, churches found themselves increasingly irrelevant; so now, desiring to maintain the same kind of power they once enjoyed, churches constantly seek after new ways to compete for the attention of the masses. —By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, p. 28. Continue Reading

Did Paul Use Pop Culture?

Did Paul Use Pop Culture?

Here is another example of what happens when you don’t sufficiently recognize what pop culture is and where and when it arose. Derek Brown claims that when Paul quoted Greek poets or playwrites, he “engaged popular culture so he could better communicate the gospel.” Ostensibly, this is the same thing as quoting Harry Potter or… Continue Reading

What Psalm 137 Does

What Psalm 137 Does

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series”God’s People in Exile”You can read more posts from the series by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar.Over the past several weeks, we have been looking at Psalm 137 and its relevance for Christian today. I have presented the historical background of the… Continue Reading

Two Kingdoms

Two Kingdoms

The two-kingdom approach thus avoids the triumphalism that can sometimes characterize the transformationalists. It has no aspirations to transform society but rather claims to have a more realistic understanding of the fallenness of the world. It also protects the regular, God-ordained operations of the church governed by explicit biblical commands. So while Christians can and should… Continue Reading

Worldly Culture

Worldly Culture

“When taken together, Romans 12:2 and 1 John 2:15-17 forbid the adoption of patterns of thinking, modes of behavior, attitudes, philosophies, outlooks, grids of evaluation, affections, gratifications, priorities, and value systems that are sinful and a manifestation of the world’s perverted understanding of what is true, good, and brings lasting happiness. Even so this is… Continue Reading

A People in Exile

A People in Exile

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series”God’s People in Exile”You can read more posts from the series by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar.Last week I presented the historical context for Psalm 137, a context of the people of God living in exile among a pagan people. Now once again,… Continue Reading

Unholy Culture

Unholy Culture

Sinful culture exists because culture, understood as behavior, is a reflection of values. Click To Tweet —By the Waters of Babylon, p. 110. Continue Reading

Horatius Bonar on Trendiness in Religion

Horatius Bonar on Trendiness in Religion

Every pastor and Christian leader feels a certain pressure to be relevant. We do not want Christianity to slip away into an oblivion. We do not want the church to go “backward” during our watch. This impulse has led many to the conclusion that Christianity must “keep up with the times.” One of the criticisms… Continue Reading

God’s People in Exile

God’s People in Exile

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series God's People in Exile You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series”God’s People in Exile”You can read more posts from the series by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres.… Continue Reading

Culture is not Race

Culture is not Race

This is from a political site, but the author’s point is something that I’ve been trying to stress for years as well–it is a central argument in my book, By the Waters of Babylon: culture and race are not the same thing. To criticize race is horrible (I actually deny the category of race except that… Continue Reading

Vote so as to obey the Second Greatest Commandment

Vote so as to obey the Second Greatest Commandment

The current presidential election in the United States has presented a conundrum of sorts for conservative Christians. My aim here is not to defend any position or support any candidate. Rather, I would like to answer the question, why should a Christian vote in this presidential election? But first, I need to address bad reasons for Christians to… Continue Reading

Cooperation and Culture: Conclusion

Cooperation and Culture: Conclusion

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series”That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity”You can read more posts from the series by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. The gospel is the boundary of Christian fellowship and cooperation, but the degree to which we… Continue Reading

Philosophy and applications in the local church

Philosophy and applications in the local church

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series”That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity”You can read more posts from the series by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. Last week I argued that differences among philosophies of culture must necessarily affect cooperation on various… Continue Reading

The Heart and Outward Appearances

The Heart and Outward Appearances

In any political campaign, some politicians would like to reduce policy statements to slogans and soundbites. Soundbites, however, admit no qualifications or nuancing. They resist examination and exclude careful thought. They are bad for statecraft. They are also bad for theology and church order. Take the following as an example, drawn from a real sermon… Continue Reading

Differences over philosophy of culture must always affect cooperation

Differences over philosophy of culture must always affect cooperation

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series”That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity”You can read more posts from the series by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. Up to this point in this series, I have described the essence of conservative Christianity, particularly… Continue Reading

Fundamentalism and a Conservative Philosophy of Culture

Fundamentalism and a Conservative Philosophy of Culture

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series”That They May Be One: Conservatism, Cooperation, and the Center of Christian Unity”You can read more posts from the series by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar. Last week I suggested that biblical cooperation is not an “all-or-nothing” sort of thing, but is rather… Continue Reading

Is using pop music in church the same as incorporating indigenous music in missions contexts?

Is using pop music in church the same as incorporating indigenous music in missions contexts?

One of the most difficult issues church leaders face today is whether necessary (and historically practiced) “inculturation” of Christian worship applies to contemporary American pop music. This article is an absolutely fascinating attempt to answer that issue. Now, huge disclaimer first: This is written by a Roman Catholic expressly for a Roman Catholic audience and specifically rooted… Continue Reading