Summary: What culture can you mix with a Christian? Who should adapt to what?
Christians and Culture: What Mixes by Capt. Kelly Durant 10-14-12
1 Cor 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God- 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
2.Ever notice what humor is? It is when you know something should be a certain way and it is noticeable different and often comical. I use to have fun in Bolivia going to the markets with Rebeca on my back in a backpack. In Bolivia it is common for the women to carry their babies wrapped in a blanket, but you would never see a man with a baby. But I was not a Bolivian man, I was a gringo with every right to be forgiven for not following the customs. I use to have fun seeing all the ladies point and laugh at me!
Carrying my own baby was not being offensive, but what I did learn later though was that taking a picture of the “cholitas” in the market was offensive as they believed I could capture their soul by having an image of them. So I took almost no pictures of them to be respectful! You can’t preach love, pray and save souls if you are being insulting to the culture at the same time!
3. Today we will explore the different cultures and nations. What nation are you from and how Godly or anti-christ are they in their cultural practices, and beliefs? Does God see all the nations the same with their differences? Or are some better than others? Well, to answer that we must first we must observe the record of God’s dealings with the cultures in the O.T. Genesis 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
The plan of God in the O.T. was for the descendants of Abraham to be special and blessed people because they were to be a light and example to all nations obeying God’s statutes and commands living respectfully with everyone (even immigrants) honoring God and leading those nations around them into righteousness. Genesis 35:11 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
So the conclusion is that God in the Old Testament was principally concerned for the nation of Israel which descended from Abraham. God did not promote the culture of the people but rather He promoted His culture of worship and sacrifice. Many of the other pagan nations that had horrible false gods, human sacrifice, and cruel destructive customs were condemned and over time many of them were subdued through those of Abraham’s seed, Moses, Joshua, David, and the other kings.
4.But today we live in the N.T. era under the inclusive love of Jesus. Jesus preached extensively about how God is raising up a new nation, a holy people to live in righteousness and peace. John 3:16 makes it clear how God now, through Jesus will accept, “whosoever” that will choose Him, and that implies every nation, race, and person!
In the end take into account that God has his own culture of principles and He wants His Kingdom established forever and we as Christians should be in applying ourselves learning about how to live in his Holy Nation which will supersede all cultures. How does God want His holy nation of called out-of–the-world Christians to govern their selves no matter the country or culture they are from? He wants each of us to live in love and unity, in holiness, practicing real justice, helping all to have all their needs met, enjoying freedom from suffering, sickness, and eventually freedom from death. And as Paul says in our verses of today, 33 “For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved”, this should be our motto as well!
5.Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven” and this implies that a true Christian is implementing the culture of heaven within their home, church, and wherever they go. People of the Salvation Army who have travelled around the world and visited other Corps in Russia, Africa, Asia, or wherever find the same Christian culture and uniformity in our doctrines, the only differences are in the people’s appetites for food, music, and dress. Actually most Christian churches are very compatible with each other and this is due to the fact that Christ’s way of life is the same everywhere if practiced correctly.