Cultural change is not an easy one but necessary if we want to achieve the goal of fishing for souls in the world we live in today. As the world we live in evolves, so must we evolve with it! World views change but two things remain the same:
1. Genesis 8:21 the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.
2. Luke 19:10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Yes it is true that Jesus calls us out of this world but still expects us to continue the work He has called us to do. “Soul Winning” does not look the same way it did in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, so we need to create new ways to speak the Word of God to today’s culture and fulfill the expectations Christ has for His followers. I am reminded of Luke’s writings in the Acts of the Apostles in chapter 17 where we find Paul and Silas bringing the good news of the Gospel into Greece. The Greeks had a polytheistic view and worshipped many gods and demi-gods. Paul and Silas are introducing (for the first time) a monotheistic view while claiming that the one and only true God that we serve is Trinitarian. Reasoning with the men of Greece at the Areopagus, Paul uttered these truths:
Acts 17:22- 31
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:
TO THE UNKNOWN GOD
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Most of us that are born in the 1970’s or before don’t even recognize our world anymore. And just like the Roman-Greco world that Paul and the rest of the early church were contending with, we too, are also living in a pagan world. In the biblical days they had to contend with polytheism but today we call it pluralism. Cultural pluralism is a term used when smaller groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities, and their values and practices are accepted by the wider culture provided they are consistent with the laws and values of the wider society. Pluralism mandates that we must be “all accepting”.
Here is a quote from Stephen Ray in his message “swimming upstream”:
“Pluralism doesn’t just mean you have to accept different cultures, it means you have to accept every different kind of idea and philosophy. We have lost the culture that we once had, and we live under the tyranny of relativism because relativism comes along and says everything is o.k.”
If we are going to create a new culture in our church today we must use the blue print that got us here today…God’s Word. The early church was formed by simple men and women being bold enough to take a stand for what they believed in while using the tools that God gave them...
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