For centuries Christians thought that culture would change if we just had a majority of Christians in the culture. That has proven to be a false assumption. Culture is defined by a relatively small number of change agents who operate at the tops of cultural spheres or societal mountains. It takes less than 3–5 percent of those operating at the top of a cultural mountain to actually shift the values represented on that mountain.

For example, this is exactly what the gay rights movement has done through the mountains of media and arts and entertainment. They have strategically used these avenues to promote their cause and reframe the argument. They are gradually legitimizing their cause through these two cultural mountains through a small percentage of people in society, but operating at the top of the media and arts and entertainment mountain.

Mountains are controlled by a small percentage of leaders and networks. James Hunter, in a book entitled To Change the World, highlights what sociologist Randall Collins says about civilizations in his book The Sociology of Philosophies. According to Collins, civilizations have been defined by a very small percentage of cultural philosophers who influence seven gates and supporting networks since our birth as a civilization. Hunter summarizes,

“Even if we add the minor figures in all of the networks, in all of the civilizations, the total is only 2,700. In sum, between 150 and 3,000 people (a tiny fraction of the roughly 23 billion people living between 600 B.C. and A.D. 1900) framed the major contours of all world civilizations. Clearly, the transformations here were top-down.”

What an amazing piece of information. Imagine that. Culture has been defined since the beginning of time by no more than three thousand change agents, a tiny fraction of the population.

That is why we must realize that making more converts will not necessarily change culture. It is important to have conversions, but it is more important to have those who are converted operate at the tops of the cultural mountains from a biblical worldview.

Those at the tops of these mountains are expressing their liberal worldview through these cultural spheres.  The more godly the change agent at the top, the more righteous the culture will be. The more ungodly, the more liberal we will become. It doesn’t matter if the majority of the culture is made up of Christians. It only matters who has the greatest influence over that cultural mountain.  

Our Current Status in Culture

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
Proverbs 29:2

For the last several decades culture has become increasingly secular and liberal in the United States. But God has always raised up His change agents to represent His interests and agenda on planet earth. God is raising up His change agents for such a time as this.

We know that Jesus will return for a bride that “He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” So, despite the trends we may see, I believe we need to operate from a victorious eschatology viewpoint. God’s current activity in the marketplace is part of this.

He is calling His church to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This means applying God’s mind to the natural order expressed through the cultural mountains of society.