Neil Girrard

Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Jn. 13:15 π Rom. 8:9 π Rom. 8:29 π Gal. 3:3 π Gal. 5:13 π Eph. 2:10 π 1 Pet. 2:21

When a Hindu or Muslim or Voodoo high priest or animalistic tribesman comes to know Christ, it is inherently understood that he must reject his culture and his heritage to receive Christ and stand in Him. But when a westernized "Christian," born into a so-called "Christian" nation, comes to know Christ, no such requirement is seen to be upon that one. There simply is no inherent requirement for the new convert to submit to Christ as a King who demands of him a lifestyle fundamentally different than that of his friends, acquaintances and neighbors. This is extreme foolishness, ignorance and arrogance all combined into one package deal.

First, this is a demonstration of complete ignorance as to what "culture" really is. Allen Bloom offers this:

"First, culture [in common usage] is almost identical to people or nation, as in French culture, German culture, Iranian culture, etc. Second, culture refers to art, music, literature, educational television, certain kinds of movies - in short everything that is uplifting and edifying, as opposed to commerce... [But the concept of culture, because of bourgeois (selfish, shallow, materialistic) hypocrisy and artifice], has also become part of empty talk [words that mean nothing because they have been emptied of distinctive meaning by egalitarian (all must share equally) society], its original imprecision now carried to the point of pathology. Anthropologists can't define it although they are sure there is such a thing. Artists have no vision of the sublime, but they know culture (i.e., what they do) has a right to the honor and support of civil society. Sociologists and the disseminators of their views, the journalists of all descriptions, call everything a culture - the drug culture, the rock culture, the street-gang culture, and so on endlessly and without discrimination. Failure of culture is now culture." (The Closing of the American Mind, p. 184, 187)

Since there really is no concrete definition for what a "culture" is, we are immediately faced with the very problematic dilemma of determining what the "culture" of a "Christian nation" might actually be. How did the people of Christ ever let themselves get pushed out onto this shifting sand anyway?

It is extremely arrogant, therefore, to presuppose that a "culture" which cannot be defined should serve as the standard for one's life - this arrogance is multiplied exponentially when the non-identifiable "culture" is used as a basis to imagine and believe oneself superior to other human beings!

With this fuzzy, nebulous non-definition as our starting point, let us then consider carefully what the American "culture" (whatever that actually is) has given us:

The American "culture" could be summed up as the unrestrained gratification of the flesh done in the name of liberty.

In contrast to all this "culture," we have Jesus who left us two examples to imitate: selfless service ( Jn. 13:15 ) and suffering ( 1 Pet. 2:21 ) as we attend to the good works that God foreordained for us to routinely do. ( Eph. 2:10 ) We are called to be conformed in maturity to the complete likeness of Christ Jesus ( Rom. 8:29 ), indwelt and filled with His Spirit. ( Rom. 8:9; top )

Our first priority in life must be that of simply being an obedient child of God - and this first priority overshadows and directs all the other priorities in our life. Second comes our closest relations, that is, our family - as husband or wife, then as a parent to our children. Third comes our Christian family relations with one another and fourth our interactions with the people of the world. This is the order of priority of our life though circumstances may make a lower priority temporarily more urgent and perhaps even necessary. It is in this event that we must seek wisdom and guidance to discern which is truly necessary for life and godliness and which is only urgent distractions away from that which is truly important.

When our "culture" with its worldly demands expects us to sacrifice our highest priorities so as to take on creature comforts or "the easy way out" of various situations, we must choose whether we will follow Christ or this world. In our westernized society, those choices are often subtle and interwoven with snares that will entrap us in some bondage or lead us away from our obedience to Christ. All of these evil aspects of our culture must somehow be eliminated from our life if we are to be the spotless bride of Christ. It is not enough to go forward at an altar call, attend "church" routinely and remain a willing and eager participant of the elements of our worldly and wicked "culture." We cannot finish in the flesh what was begun in the Spirit ( Gal. 3:3 ) and we cannot obey the call to liberty from sin, self and Satan by obeying the lusts of the flesh, even when those lusts are dressed up in their more subtle forms. ( Gal. 5:13; top )

Let he who has ears hear.

I'd love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!

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