DayBreaks for 6/15/20: Contradicting Culture
From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:
The following is from a sermon by Tim Keller, author of The Reason for God, and I thought it was worth sharing. Many today think that Christians are busy-bodies who do nothing more than rail against the culture of their time. And, let’s face it, perhaps at times we have deserved such criticism. Here’s that Tim had to say, I urge you to contemplate it seriously. I think he makes an excellent point:
“Many of us read a certain passage of Scripture and say, “That’s so regressive, so offensive.” But we ought to entertain the idea that maybe we feel that way because in our particular culture that text is a problem. In other cultures that passage might not come across as regressive or offensive.
“Let’s look at just one example. In individualistic, Western societies, we read the Bible, and we have a problem with what it says about sex. But then we read what the Bible says about forgiveness—”forgive your enemy;” “forgive your brother seventy times seven;” “turn the other cheek;” “when your enemy asks for your shirt, give him your cloak as well”—and we say, “How wonderful!” It’s because we are driven by a culture of guilt. But if you were to go to the Middle East, they would think that what the Bible has to say about sex is pretty good. (Actually, they might feel it’s not strict enough!) But when they would read what the Bible says about forgiving your enemies, it would strike them as absolutely crazy. It’s because their culture is not an individualistic society like ours. It’s more of a shame culture than a guilt culture.
“Let me ask you a question: If you’re offended by something in the Bible, why should your cultural sensibilities trump everybody else’s? Why should we get rid of the Bible because it offends your culture? Let’s do a thought experiment for a second. If the Bible really was the revelation of God, and therefore it wasn’t the product of any one culture, wouldn’t it contradict every culture at some point? Therefore, if it’s really from God, wouldn’t it have to offend your cultural sensibilities at some point? Therefore, when you read the Bible, and you find some part of it outrageous and offensive, that’s proof that it’s probably true, that it’s probably from God. It’s not a reason to say the Bible isn’t God’s Word; it’s a reason to say it is. What makes you think that because this part or that part of God’s Word is offensive, you can forget Christianity altogether?”
How arrogant that people (including us) think that our judgments and pronouncements about what is good and bad in culture are always true and right! In fact, if we find ourselves in constant and strong alignment with our culture, chances are good that we need to open again the Word and see what it has to say about it!
PRAYER: Let us have more of Your wisdom, O Lord, and learn to apply Your Word to the life situations we face and the culture that surrounds us. We want to be strong disciples, Lord, and help us to take the stands that You would like for us to take – and to do so with compassion and grace! In Jesus’ name, Amen
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>