Riding the Cultural Waves in Church

I the late 1980s, my dad came home from a Church leadership meeting with a new book. I have this longstanding love of the written word, and so I picked it up with great curiosity. It was about “The New Age Movement, and It’s Teaching.” I inquired about it, and dad told me the Church leadership was going to go through it so that they could better handle the issues facing our culture today. At the moment, it sounded like a great idea, and I logged it into my brain as good advice for the future.

While I was in Bible college, before class one day, a student was discussing current events with one of my professors. He was asking when we were going to address some “front page” issues in class. After all, the Church needs to be able to address our culture today. The professor said, “When I was in Bible college, I had a class that taught him to deal with some issue (I can’t remember), and then when I graduated, I never met a person who believed that issue.” Then he delivered his big conclusion, “Therefore I think we are best to heed the words of the Apostle Paul to the Church in Corinth, ‘For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.’” (1 Corinthians 2:2 – NIV 2011)

Through the years I have spent in ministry, I have learned the wisdom of his words. You see, my dad and our Church never had to debate people about their New Age belief. Within a short time, it was dismissed, and the culture went on to the next thing. This cycle repeats itself almost annually in our world. Right now, the topic of racism is huge, last year it was global warming, and next year it will be something else. I, like many of you, have lived through the fear of communism, the rise of the occult, postmodern thinking, Harry Potter and magic, recessions, multiple presidents both good and bad, wars and conflict globally, 9/11 with the twin towers, Osama and Saddam, ISIS, along with a dozen of other things.

The one thing that never changes is Jesus, and people’s need for him. People are sinners desperately in need of a Savior. As his followers, we must be careful about chasing after every new cultural issue and miss the main thing the gospel gives us – JESUS. Jesus’ perfect life sacrificed on the cross to pay our debt of sin.

Sure, I hope the Church takes the truth of God and engages the culture. That engagement must flow from the message of Jesus as our Savior; otherwise, it is devoid of any real meaning. When we are continually riding the waves of culture, we are always in search of the next big wave. The truth is that Jesus death on the cross and resurrection from the dead caused a cultural tidal wave that is big enough for us to ride for a lifetime.

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