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How Do We Engage Our Culture?

Dr. Charles Revis, Executive Minister, ABC of the Northwest

Recently Pastor Dave Roberts, in his church's newsletter, provided some excellent thoughts regarding the challenge of Christians engaging culture. He acknowledges that all of us live in the culture and each of us are effected by it. He presses on to ask an important question, "Since every culture is 'fallen' what do we do about it. What should be our stance towards the culture?" Here are some of his thoughts:

"Some take an adversarial position, saying that culture is the enemy of Christ and the church. Their perspective is that Christ will come and make it right. In the meantime the Christian's job is to rescue as many people as possible by pulling them out of the culture. Christians are to live separated and apart from the culture.

Some embrace the culture. These Christians say that it's best to go with the flow. If we are to gain a hearing for Christ, we can't appear to be too odd or different for fear that the culture will just dismiss us as a crazy sect or quacks. Therefore, we need to re-order our values so we can get close to others and sound enough like them they will listen.

Some say we engage the culture for the purpose of Kingdom transformation. This is where I see myself and the church needing to be. We need to be in the culture but to keep our eye on Christ. We have to be in the culture for the right reasons...For me, this means paying attention to what's going on 'out there.' We need to be able to 'speak the language,' but speak in a way that's filled with God's justice and compassion.

The culture is constantly pushing and enticing us to use the language and speech patterns of the world. Yet, when we find our identity in the Lord, we, our speech, and actions are transformed. Where we are (in the culture) is not the source of our identity. We can be in a mess, but not have our identity be a mess.

The forces at work within a culture (not just our American culture) have always and will always be at work calling us to this idol or that idol rather than to the living God. God calls us to be transformed, to change from the values of the culture to the values of the Kingdom of God. We can then take that transforming power into the culture."

[Rev. Dave Roberts is co-pastor with Rev. Manuel Luguin at First Baptist/Communidad Cristiana of Yakima, WA, a multi-ethinic congregation within the ABC of the Northwest.]

2010 © Dr. Charles Revis, ABC Northwest
[This article is from Dr. Revis’ blog,]