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Vol.  10  No. 4 April 2008  Page 14
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Is Culture to Transform Our Identity?

Tim ChildsBy Tim Childs

    Recently, James Dobson was speaking on radio about the various forces that are presently engaged in the battle for the minds of our young people. It is understood that whatever political and cultural changes are brought about in the world of tomorrow will be made by those who are the youth of today. This is why there is such a pernicious, aggressive battle for their minds.

    To that end, a movement has been underway for some time to affect the thinking of our young people about marriage and the family unit as they move through their 12 to 16 years of school. The “gay and lesbian lifestyle” is continually placed before our young people in a favorable light and as being normal in hope that the future generation will be more accepting and “tolerant.”

    Every society has its cumulative set of attitudes, values, ideals and beliefs. This is known as the “culture” of the people. Over decades, there often are striking changes in culture, even as there have been quite significant ones in our own culture over the past ten to twenty years. The following well illustrates the point. In an article dated March 2, 2006 and titled “Minister May Get Tossed After 30 Years for Marrying Gays,” one female denominational leader who is an activist and proponent of same-sex marriage was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “Certainly the founder of the Christian faith was someone who challenged all oppressive systems that kept people from being whole,” as she made her defense for marrying two same-sex couples. Apparently, she wants to make Jesus appear sympathetic to her cause. Excuse me, but He is not.

    Then, there are forces (including the use of some who even claim to be members of the Lord’s church) currently engaged in a battle to change the identity of the kingdom (also known as the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ). For more than a decade now, certain “Change Agents” have been at work tampering with our way of interpreting Scripture and the way we find authorization for what we are to do and how to worship as Christians. In disdain for our long-held, biblical convictions, we have been labeled “separatists” (no doubt among other things). Those who are faithful in the kingdom of Christ have always and will always have their enemies. Some of these seek to work from within, while others work from without (Acts 20:29-30). See also Luke 6:26.

    God has given us the Holy Scriptures, including the New Testament, which, in a spirit of love and compassion, lays out his will for all of His children for all time as we live in this final dispensation. The culture of society changes rapidly and may well lead to the decay and destruction of a nation, but “the word of the Lord endureth forever” (1 Peter 1:25), and does not self-adjust to meet the demands of society. The world, with its popular opinions, may sway the church if we are ungrounded in the faith (Ephesians 4:14), but the world will never force Jesus to change his doctrinal position on any solitary matter. During His personal ministry, Jesus never demonstrated an interest in meeting the world’s demands and expectations. His purpose has always been far higher (John 4:34).

    Now, God has placed you and me as lights in a world of darkness (Matthew 5:14-16), and to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). It is ok for the church to be in the world (John 17:15), but it is never ok for the world to be in the church (James 4:4). Therefore, heed Romans 12:2 and refuse to conform to this present world. Also, remember John 17:14-16. God has called us to be a holy nation and a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9).

    Will we allow modern culture to transform the identity of the Lord’s church to the extent that it is no longer recognizable and has no connection whatsoever with the kingdom Jesus established and is described in the New Testament? We must not swallow the devil’s lie when he says through some that various doctrinal matters should not be “a test of fellowship” claiming they are only our opinions. What Jesus has taught His followers to do or believe should never be expressed as “opinion.” Further, whatever we are commanded to do “in the name of Jesus Christ” [such as baptism for the remission of sins, (Acts 2:38)] is neither incidental nor a matter of indifference. We need to remember that if we fail to overcome the world with all its assaults on our faith, Jesus can and will remove our candlestick (Revelation 2:5). However, with God as our helper, the Lord Jesus Christ will be our driving force rather than the world.

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