Posted by: fatherof11 | December 8, 2005

Christian Culture vs Christianity

A discussion on at Paul Lamey’s blog, got me to thinking about the difficulties we face sometimes separating artifact’s of our “Christian” culture with true Biblical Christianity. The discussion was over Christmas. Many Christians seem to think that it is a fundamental part of the Christian life. Just look at the fact that some are boycotting retailers because they have removed the word Christmas from their marketing. Christmas must be really important to spend so much energy over getting unbelievers to just use the word. The problem is that no where in the Bible are we told to celebrate the day of Christ’s birth. The reality is that the celebration of Christmas is an artifact of our culture and tradition.

Our nature is such that we tend to believe that how we have always done it is the “right” way to do it. No matter what “it” is. This was brought home with several of our adopted children. Since most of our children were older when they were adopted, they had already been acculturated into their native culture. Many of the normal things they did when they came just seemed “wrong” to us. As an example, toilet paper is thrown into the trash not the toilet in Russia. If you are not aware of it, this can cause some problems, particularly if you attribute ulterior motives to the child.

This forced us to examine many of the things we did to see if there was a purpose to them, or if that was just “the way we had always done it.” In some cases, we allowed them to keep their ways of doing things. In others, we trained the kids to conform to our culture so as not to offend others.

When we are saved we become a member of a different kingdom, a different culture, if you will. Because of this, we need to make sure to learn the behaviors and demands of our new culture. Unfortunately, in America there is a distinct Christian subculture. Even worse is that, within that sub culture, there are even further distinctions based on denomination and even the local church. If we are not careful, we can confuse the rules of our Christian subculture with the rules of the Kingdom.

Therefore, we need to examine our traditions, out practices, and what we consider “the right way to do things,” to see if they line up with Scripture. This may mean discarding some of our well held traditions where they do not line up with Scripture. It may mean going counter to not just the worldly culture, but the culture of our church environment. It means not only applying Romans 12:2 to the world, but to the Christian culture.

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Responses

  1. Bob, I love the way you relate theology to your family. Today I had an interesting experience with Irina. She was studying her vocabulary and she asked me if God just spoke English. Since she has almost deaf she has problems with concepts . I told her that God could speak every language. And that He didn’t need to use language to communicate with us because His Spirit lives in us and tells us that He loves us or if we do something wrong he lets us know. By the look on her face, she seemed to “get it” and seemed very pleased with the idea. I know she is often so frustrated because she has trouble communicating, I was glad she could understand.

  2. We are so blessed to have G’Ma here with us, in our very hearts and home.

  3. I Timothy 4:6-7 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wive’s fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.

  4. I’ve gotten very frustrated with this foofaraw about “The War On Christmas,” a phrase that could only be coined by someone who has no idea what religious persecution really is.

    I mean, really. So Walmart, which employs and caters to thousands upon thousands of Jews and Muslims*, can’t say the word “Christmas.” I can still buy a nativity scene there,** pay for it in front of everyone, and display it on my front lawn if I want to,*** all without fear of harassment. Where is the war?

    *I should know, I shop with them every week.
    **Which I have done.
    ***Which I won’t do, because it will get stepped on.

    –Rebekah

  5. Bob, I would LOVE more stories about the cultural differences in your household, both the ones that are gone and the ones that remain.

    –Rebekah


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