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New Creatures–New Culture

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series

"A New Testament Understanding of Culture"

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Culture is the same as behavior, and I am explaining in this series implications from the New Testament based on that idea. Here are the previous implications:

  1. New Testament authors explain cultural differences between various people groups as differences of belief and value.
  2. New Testament authors identify people groups (ethnicities, tribes, nations, etc.) as those of common ancestral heritage who share common culture flowing from common values.
  3. New Testament authors demand that the culture of Christians be holy, pure, and distinct from the culture of unbelievers.

The fourth implication is that New Testament authors proclaim Christianity as a new and distinct people group that shares new values and thus new culture. Peter in particular identifies Christians as a “chosen race,” a “holy nation,” and a “people for [God’s] own possession” distinct from other races, nations, and peoples. Howe summarizes the important relationship between terms related to ethnicity and behavior in Peter’s writing:

The word anastrophēs, “way of life,” is a key word in Petrine theology, for it occurs eight times in Peter’s epistles (1 Pet. 1:15, 18; 2:12; 3:1, 2, 16; 2 Pet. 2:7; 3:11). The contrast of lifestyles of believers before and after they trusted Christ as their Redeemer is vividly displayed by seeing how the same word is used to describe their former way of life (“your futile way of life [anastrophēs],” 1:18) and their new life in Christ (“be holy yourselves also in all your behavior [anastrophē],” 1:15).

This contrast serves as evidence that Peter sought to relate the theological significance of the death of Christ to the ethical dimension of the lives of those who trusted his finished work for their salvation.1

 

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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

  1. Howe, “The Christian Life in Peter’s Theology,” 194. []

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