Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

SAVE LIVES!
See Life 2021
Double your gift now!
Yes, I will help save babies from abortion!
$

Should Pastors Engage or Escape Culture?

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
a blurred image of a busy train station
Photo by Karen Lau on Unsplash
Jesus claimed authority over all things (Matthew 28:18-20). How will we respond? By ignoring the aspects of culture we find distasteful, or by engaging culture as a platform from which to proclaim Jesus’s victory?

Once, after a nighttime scuba dive in Mexico, my son and I were ambling back to our hotel from the dock and passed a couples-only resort preparing for a huge dance party. The music was cranked up, inviting people to the celebration.

After we had passed by, my son asked, “Did you hear that song?”

“No, I didn’t,” I replied. “I was still thinking about our dive.”

He replied, “I’m glad you didn’t—because it had the F–word every other word.”

It struck me as funny that my teenage son thought my tender adult ears needed protection from that kind of influence. But his comment—and the conversation that followed—caused me to rethink how I approach culture as a Christian.

Does Ignoring Culture Equal Spiritual Maturity?

That evening in Mexico, I didn’t hear the music because I tend to tune out negative influences. My son, however, didn’t tune it out. As a teenager, he’s hyper-aware of his cultural surroundings. To him, bad stuff doesn’t go away just because you don’t want to think about it.

How did I come to believe that spiritual maturity involves separating myself from things that are vulgar/profane? For me, it was what I have started calling an unquestioned answer. I had never really thought it through. But if I had been paying attention to how the apostle Paul dealt with culture, I might have learned something new about how to bring the gospel to a hurting world.

Paul’s Example in Athens

Once my son shook me out of my stupor about the vulgar song, I began to ask him questions: What do you think about music like that? How does it affect you when people use those words? How do you keep your mind focused on what is good and true when other people use language like that?

It turned into a great discussion about faith and culture. And it made me wonder: What does it look like to use culture as a platform from which to proclaim the gospel?

In Acts 17, we learn that Paul visited the city of Athens and shared about Jesus in the synagogue and in the marketplace (vv. 16–17). The marketplace of that day essentially served as a garden of idols. Some of it has been preserved and can be viewed in Greece to this day. The statues Paul would have seen expressed worship of all kinds, from bodily perfection to sexual perversity.

Paul Understood the Surrounding Culture

Ancient Greeks were enslaved to their own passions. One look at the marketplace would have made that obvious. Rather than avoid it, the marketplace is exactly where Paul went to explain how the gospel sets people free.

While there, Paul was invited to address a group of religious and philosophical leaders. He began his speech by saying, “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along, I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about” (vv. 21–23, NLT).

Paul knew that culture, even a decadent one, was not to be trivialized, ignored, or mocked. Rather, it was to be thoughtfully employed as a means by which he could proclaim the gospel.

Will You Engage Culture?

Paul’s approach to culture directly confronts my own idea. Spiritual maturity doesn’t come from avoiding tough realities, but from seeing them with the mind of Christ.

Obviously, it takes a lot of discernment to be immersed in culture without being deceived by its allure. But the difference in mindset between Paul’s approach and my own is significant. Ignoring culture evolves into an escape mind-set; having the mind of Christ emerges into an engaged mind-set.

The escape mindset never really makes a difference. It never even tries. The engage mindset, on the other hand, has enabled believers throughout the centuries to have a profound impact on science, business, education, charity, health care, and human rights.

Today, Christians opt for escape in many areas of life. It’s an impulse I’m learning to challenge in myself and others. In my book Unquestioned Answers, I address ten clichés that Christians often use to justify escaping culture rather than engaging it. For example, saying “This world has nothing for me” is a slogan that turns the attention of believers toward getting out rather than pressing in.

Jesus claimed authority over all things (Matthew 28:18-20). How will we respond? By ignoring the aspects of culture we find distasteful, or by engaging culture as a platform from which to proclaim Jesus’s victory?

the cover of unquestioned answers by jeff myers

Unquestioned Answers: Rethinking Ten Christian Clichés to Rediscover Biblical Truths

In this timely and relevant book, Dr. Jeff Myers rethinks ten popular Christian clichés. Through an in-depth and fresh look, Myers shares insights into these overused statements to strengthen readers’ faith and encourage them to share Jesus with others. Walk with Myers on a path to biblical truth as he explores critical topics such as social justice, faith, sin, loving others, God’s goodness, prayer, and more.
Featured

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.
Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

Tell Your Story

By sharing your struggles and triumphs, God can transform your courage into hope and faith for others.

see life episode 1 coming soon version

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!