Cultural Engagement: Every Christian's Obligation
- Thursday, January 24, 2008
All true Christians become familiar with the Great Commission early in their spiritual lives. At the same time, there is another mandate in the Scriptures that is equally massive in terms of obligation and resulting implications: the dominion mandate of Gen. 1:28. Further, we are told by our Lord to be salt and light that men might see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:13-16). Certainly these directives are interconnected and are all grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, few believers understand the profound duty placed upon us in these areas. Neither do we realize the consequences for that failure of understanding. A large number of evangelicals shrink away from thinking about culture or seeing any onus placed upon them concerning cultural influence. Just what does it mean to be in the world but not of the world?
While such influence must be accomplished in every sphere of our cultural context from the arts, to the markets, to the entertainment industry, to the sciences, to the political arena, etc., precious few see the necessity of such engagement or even care. A failure to see in this regard is the sure pathway to the marginalization and then ban of Christianity. In short, we must involve ourselves in cultural engagement. Beyond the stated obvious, the question is: “why?”
1) First, we must engage the culture because kingdom advance is why we’re here. There are two competing kingdoms in this world, God’s and Satan’s; through they are not on equal footing. Certainly God is sovereign over all things. Yet, He has chosen, through the person and work Christ, to advance His kingdom and that primarily through the influence of believers. He uses us to put His enemies under His feet through the preaching of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:25). If we fail to do so, the Kingdom of Satan continues to encroach upon the Kingdom of God in the world.
For example, the Kingdom of Darkness encroaches in regard to our biggest social issues. Simply consider a few of the massive concerns before us in this culture: abortion, euthanasia, cloning, the homosexual agenda, etc. Pharmacists are required in some places to dispense the morning after pill even if it violates their consciences. In these citations alone the moral breakdown of our culture combined with the erosion of personal liberty has served to advance evil in our culture in an unprecedented way.
Further, the Kingdom of Darkness encroaches in regard to our deepest philosophical commitments. One need only cite the dynamics of political correctness, postmodernism, hate speech legislation, and the like to sound the alarm. A day is fast approaching when the gospel itself will be banned in this country if the tide is not turned.
Perhaps the most chilling implication is that the Kingdom of Darkness encroaches in regard to our prized treasure: our children. A moral agenda vastly different from the average evangelical’s has taken hold in the public school system. Biblical values are out while evolution, socialism, and homosexuality are in.
Now, we are here to encroach on Satan’s kingdom with the power of Christ in the gospel of grace. Of course, we are not talking about forced Christianity. At issue here is gospel advance for the salvation of souls, the glory of God, and the betterment of the lives of all people in the society in which God has placed us. The better of the lives of others is implied in the preserving influence we have as the salt of the earth. Further, the Lord Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).” The picture here is that of the church advancing even as the gates of Hell attempt to hold that Kingdom from encroaching into its (so-called) territory. Those gates cannot keep Christ from accomplishing His purpose.
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