If the Gospel is to be relevant for a rapidly changing society Christians must re-examine their doctrine that functions like culture is too soiled to redeem, author Andy Crouch says.
Speaking before hundreds gathered at the Association of Biblical Higher Education’s annual meeting held Feb. 20-22, author Andy Crouch, whose most recent book, The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology In Its Proper Place, exhorted those in attendance that if their theology does not extend to redeem culture it is woefully inadequate.
The theme of the conferences was “leveraging cultural insight for adaptive change” patterned after the sons of Issachar who, as it’s explained in 1 Chronicles 12:32, had an understanding of the times.
He showed a picture of an image of hands in yellow rubber gloves along with the words “Deliver us from culture,” noting how quickly American culture has changed. In previous decades culture-shaping institutions were oriented toward the Gospel and left a distinctly Christian mark on society, he noted.
“In less than a generation those institutions were handed over initially to a very different kind of Christian” Crouch said, mentioning hospitals and the YMCA, “and eventually to people who did not feel it was necessary to keep that faith perspective in those institutions.”
Yet it is mistaken for a Christian to regard “culture” as synonymous with “evil,” he said. Praying that God “deliver us from evil,” a line from the Lord’s prayer, is quite different from praying “deliver us from culture.”
“I wonder, do we really mean that? Deliver us from culture? Because culture is a pretty big subject.”
To pray to be delivered from culture, he continued, is the opposite of what Jesus asked for in John 17 when He prayed: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”
The church has thrived most when Christians are embedded in cultures that were not their own, he went on to say, and they need not fear getting dirty. The biblical stories of Esther, Daniel, Nehemiah, and all of the Israelite exiles illustrate this, he said, as they had to learn how to be faithful to God without their familiar support structures.
When Christians stop thinking culturally, they cease thinking biblically, he said, and that thinking is distinct from the thinking about how churches might strategically use something within culture for their own purposes in the church separate from the world.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter