Tag Archives: Articles on Culture

Imagine how they felt.

Imagine how they felt.

Imagine how they felt. For four hundred years, ever since King Solomon finished building the grand Temple in Jerusalem, the Israelites had enjoyed free and rich worship in their land. David had successfully defeated most of Israel’s enemies, he had made all the preparations for the Temple and the worship to take place there, and… Continue Reading

Christians, the Church, and Culture

Christians, the Church, and Culture

This entry is part 1 of 13 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

Can we change the world?

Can we change the world?

I recently finished reading James Hunter’s To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World, a book that deals with a perennial interest of mine, that is, whether Christians have a mandate to try to “transform” culture. Here is a summary of his central argument: Christians have long had a… 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

Ron Horton on Christian Taste in Entertainment

Ron Horton on Christian Taste in Entertainment

Ron Horton, a philosophy professor at Bob Jones University, recently gave a presentation on Christian taste that is excellent and well-worth reading. Here’s a snippet: What is the God’s-eye view of present-day art and art entertainment in what is called the post-Christian world? This question meets surprising resistance from Christians who one might think would… Continue Reading

The Common Problem with White Supremacy and Multiculturalism

The Common Problem with White Supremacy and Multiculturalism

White supremacy is horrendous. It is contrary to biblical Christianity both by reason of creation and by reason of redemption. All people, regardless of birthplace, ancestry, genetics, or skin color are created in God’s image, and therefore all people are of equal value in God’s sight. All people have been equally affected by sin and… Continue Reading

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.

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 psalm and argued that it has significant relevance for us since, like the author/audience of Psalm 137, Christians are exiles living among a pagan people. Now let us consider… 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.

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, understanding this immediate context may cause us to wonder, how in the world could this psalm be relevant for Christians today? Certainly we do not live under such depressing… 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