Cultural Influences

“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.” – 1 Chronicles 12:32 (KJV)

What is interesting about this verse is that the tribe of Issachar could see what was going on in the world, in this particular context it was that David was taking power. Do we do this today? Do we see what is going on in the world?

In the world today, many of us just want to go about our own business and not be stressed by many of the things that are going on in the world and especially the scientific community because it requires us to think really hard on some subjects. This also stems from a common belief that faith does not require thinking.

Biblical authority is what is at the heart of everything happening in the world. Do we trust the secular scientists and politicians or do we allow God to tell us. Let make a few definitions:

  1. Biblical inerrancy: Is the bible accurate when it does speak on matters of science and when it does is it correct and trustworthy
  2. Biblical perspicuity: Is the bible clear and easy enough to be understood at face value.

The gospel message depends on things like the reality of Adam and Creation, and the fall in order for there to be redemption. If fossils are 100s of millions of years old then there was death of man before the fall. If death is not the consequence for sin then why do we need the resurrection? Christians are deciding to believe some of the Bible, a Bible a-la-cart theology.

More than anywhere else in the world, America has been blessed with more Christian ministries and education groups. Is our society getting better or worse? Is the church influencing culture or is Culture influencing the Church?

We see our culture through our experiences and it shapes our moral principles whether correct or not. We figuratively say to ourselves “My culture is right because we are so prosperous (one culture out of many), or freer, or smarter…etc.” In other words we say to ourselves “My culture has made me so prosperous that it must be the right/true culture.” These first principles, whether right or wrong, become the basis through which we interpret information, including the scriptures. But this scream to us: “WHO IS IN CHARGE HERE?”

So we Americans do this all the time with scripture and not realize it. Here are a few questions to examine through our cultural lens:

  1. Do I feel a sense of success if I die and nobody knows my name but more people have come to Christ? In a success obsessed culture such as ours, we place ourselves higher on the glory rendering platform then our Lord.
  2. Do I believe God wants me to succeed, or does God want more people to know Jesus? Your definition of success will be influenced by your cultural influences. God’s definition of success is probably much different than ours. Who do you think is right?
  3. Do we compartmentalize ourselves into different people? That is work is separate from family, separate from religious beliefs and social clubs. In the West, corporations train people that work is not family and family is not work so do not bring your personal problems to work. This teaches us have a dual personality and to even prioritize our life. I mean life! That business would come before living or health or family.

Our culture may influence how we answer these questions particularly on how we define success or how a person is valued in society. Today’s culture in the West shows that people are valued by their productivity instead of just their being. This has taught generations of children that they only have extrinsic value and not intrinsic value and why more people treat other people as tools for their personal success instead of as the image of God.

While the Bible tells Christians to be salt and light in a world of darkness (Matthew 5:13), what is actually happening is the opposite. Christians are becoming more like the world. Almost daily there are news stories of ministers being charged with sexually related crimes and even violence. Are we imitating the world or is the world imitating us?

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” – Psalm 11:3 (KJV)

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