Summary: Culture is to conform to the Word, not the Word to the culture.
To Hell with Culture
When I was a new Christian I sat in Sunday School and listened to people answering questions posed by the teacher. Often the answers began with, "Well, I think" or "In my opinion" or "In our culture." That bugged me, but as a new Christian I did not say much because after all I was a new Christian and did not know much so I just listened.
Well, I am not a new Christian anymore and I have been around the block once or twice and have had my head on the chopping block a few times as well. I have learned how to ask questions and that has gotten me into trouble more than once because some folks do not like to be questioned especially Bible College professors and those with Doctor in front of their names. I learned a long time ago that degrees and positions do not automatically equate to knowledge or being correct.
Now, back to the problem with the way people answer questions. More often than not the "I think" people did not give a reason as to why they thought that way. There was no Scripture given to back up their thoughts. Now, if they had said that in accordance to I Tim 5:1 I think this passage is speaking to such and such then I would have been OK with that answer. Most times if you press a person as to why they "think" such and such you will find that they heard that thinking on some media broadcast or somebody twenty years ago said that and they never bothered to see if it were true or not. That kind of thinking is what makes people drink funky drinks in exotic places. Nowhere in Scripture are we taught to think that way. Paul encourages us to be like the Bereans who studied daily to know the truth.
The "in my opinion" people did not contribute Scripture either. They just expressed what they wanted the passage to say because that was the way they liked it. An opinion not based upon Scripture is useless because your opinions or mine mean nothing at all. It is God’s world, His Word and His rules. His is the only opinion that counts. If our opinion is in conflict with His then we need to change not Him. I have often said that I can ask six Baptists and get twelve opinions because more often than not, nothing said will be backed up by Scripture. Only tradition, feelings, denominational or seminary sayings will be given.
Now, don’t laugh if you are not a Baptist. I can find six of anything else and come up many times with nothing at all. Often the least educated Baptist is years ahead of folks from other denominations who do not even know who their founder was or what he believed or what organizations their denomination is a member of or what they support. Many times I have been told that I was wrong by people from other groups and when I turned my Bible around and asked them to show me they backed away and said that they did not know how to prove me wrong, but I was. Now that is very convincing isn’t it? More people belong to a church or denomination for social or other reasons than by doctrinal conviction. People bounce from denomination to denomination or even into cults because opinions can change. Truth is eternal and is not concerned about someone’s opinion of it. That is why we are to be grounded in the Word.
Those first two responses from folks I can somewhat understand and give people the benefit of the doubt. Some folks are just untrained and that is the best they can do. Some of the fault lies in the pulpit because I have heard plenty of pastors preach their opinion and thoughts. Often they will start off with a Scripture and then preach for thirty minutes and what they say may be good in principal but has nothing at all to do with the passage they started with. That makes for bad exegesis and poor understanding in the pew. It is hard to study and come up with a proper interpretation if all you ever hear in the pulpit is applications that do not seem to connect to the passage read.
That is why a lot of people do not study because they wait for their preacher to make the application. We are not birds and do not eat our physical food by regurgitation and we should not have regurgitation as our sole/soul diet in the spiritual realm. It is great to eat out at a restaurant, but it is also good to select, cook, cut and chew your own steak. Preaching should be an appetizer and dessert, but not the main courses all the time and only eaten three times a week. That is why there is so much spiritual anorexia and gastric problems in the Church. Study to show thyself approved and eat your own strong meat. (Hebrew 5:12-14) It will help you to know spoiled meat when you see it and keep you from ptomaine.