Comments are welcome but please have the courtesy to sign your name. Unsigned comments will be deleted.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cultural Pressures Facing The Church

Last evening concluded a week of revival meetings at our church. We heard eight excellent messages. I would like to share what (to me) was the cream of the crop on Sunday morning, "Cultural Pressures Facing the Church."

A. Seven Things That Influence Culture
1. Religion (belief system, Christian, Islam, Buddism, etc.)
2. Economy (lifestyle is affected by the economy)
3. Language (can be a barrier or asset to development)
4. Government (culture changes as laws change)
5. Social/Ethnic groups (subculture can influence a community)
6. History (learning from the past is what keeps a culture or subculture alive)
7. Arts (music, literature, fashion, films have a great influence on culture)

B. Cultural Pressures Facing the Church
1. Advancement in Communication and Social Interaction
In the past, communication was limited to neighbors, church and family with snail mail and telegrams to reach beyond that circle.
Today, with TV, Internet, cell phones, Facebook, etc. the circle has broadened to reach around the world. One of the effects of a world culture is that the authority of a nation deteriorates. Russia's invasion of the Ukraine was denounced by other nations not otherwise involved. 
Danger to the church---with a larger circle of friends within instant reach, the church family is not vital and its authority is undermined.
2. The Women's Liberation Movement
This movement gained momentum in the 1950s and 60s. Women were created with equal opportunity for salvation. However, God clearly defined the authority structure when He designated men as leaders and women as helpers. By doing so, He did not make women subservient but put then under PROTECTION. The Women's Liberation movement throws off that protection and seeks to be equal in authority with men.
Danger to the church--Women first throw off their symbol of the authority structure by removing their head coverings. Then they take on positions of leadership God never intended them to fill and burden themselves with loads they were never intended to carry. 
3. Toleration of what was once shameful
Divorce was once so shameful it happened only when something was radically wrong in a marriage (like abuse) and the couple was disgraced. Today it is accepted even in "Christian" churches. Romans 7:1-3 tells us God's standard and it has not changed with the culture. The same is true of homosexuality (Romans 1:21-28), and other moral transgressions such as living together without marriage or children born out of wedlock which were once shameful.
Danger to the church--Sin has lost its shame, we can get used to it, and then start to accept it. 
4. Observance of the Lord's Day
In the past, stores were all closed and no one worked on Sunday. Today, business goes on as usual and Sunday is just another day.
Danger to the church--This can lead to a casual view of God and worship. Respect for worship is lost. It can be easy to go to the mountains or lake etc. and skip church or ease our consciences by having "home church." Doing a little work or shopping does not seem so bad.
5. Integrity
In the past, a deal could be sealed with a handshake. Today, we need to sign a stack of papers to seal a contract because people are not honest and cannot be trusted.
Danger to the church--Culture has taught us not to trust. We become skeptical and don't trust each other which results in a loss of brotherhood accountability. We can begin to fudge on our own honesty, not reporting all income on taxes, taking advantage of others in business deals etc.
6. Respect for Authority
Our culture undermines respect for authority in music, videos, and even children's books where Mother Bear is smarter than Father Bear who is always doing something stupid. 
Danger to the church--We don't follow God's directions in our homes, child training, etc. and respect for authority is gone.

C. Things That Do Not Change
1. God "I am the Lord, I change not."
2. God's Word "His Truth endures to all generations."

I will add just one verse all this brought to my mind, "Do not let the world press you into its mold." Romans 12:2

No comments: