Christ and Culture .2

Check out yesterday’s post here. It sets up everything that today’s is about.

Within the comments on a similar post at Jesus Creed I found some great thoughts within the discussion of which one of the 5 views most reflects Christ’s action with culture.

Matt Edwards said: At first, I was drawn to Christ the Transformer of Culture model, but the more I thought about it, the more I disliked it. I see two major reasons to reject this model: The church’s attempts at transforming culture have largely been disastrous. First, I am thinking about the contemporary Christian music scene’s attempt at “redeeming” secular songs by having Christian artists cover them so that they are all of a sudden “safe for the whole family.” Lame. If U2 or Johnny Cash or Nine Inch Nails or Kayne West or Snoop Dogg or whoever sings a song that is “true,” play it on Christian radio. There is no need to redeem it first. Second, I think of Calvin’s Geneva, where he tried rule by Jesus. Should we set up a state where adultery is a capitol offense? I don’t think so. There are some aspects of culture that are unredeemable. I am thinking of certain tribes were it is part of the culture for every 12-year-old girl to be raped by an older man to learn about marriage. Can that part of culture be redeemed? It used to be cultural in this country to own slaves. Christ didn’t come to redeem that practice, he came to tear it down.

Mike Leaptrott said: I would suggest – Christ against Empire and Christ for a community of justice. If a culture supports community then Christ supports the culture. If the culture supports Empire then Christ opposess culture. The values of Christ are consistent since the beggining and are simply a restatement of the values of Israel (a just society). As culture shifts, the Christian shifts to stay in line with Christ.

Sam Andress said: The idea of Christian “realism” to mean tends to lean or morph into accomodationism. A few months back the Boston University sociologist Alan Wolfe gave a talk at Fuller and he came out and said that when the church gets too close to cultural institutions and their structures its almost always the church that gets transformed into those institutions and structures not the other way around.

These are just a few of the great comments over there.

My view: I think a case could be made for any of the 5 views as I said in the previous post. If I had to choose one, I think #4 (Christ transforming culture) has a lot of support.

When I first thought through this I was reminded of what Rick Warren said at my sister’s graduation last Saturday at Biola. He was talking about Moses’ staff that became a snake when Moses laid it down. Rick’s talk was mostly about how God’s power is shown when we lay things down for him to take control. This has little to do with Christ and culture, I know. However, it was just a staff. A staff used for the worldly means of moving sheep, yet God changed the course of history with this one staff. He changed Moses’ life with this staff, which changed Israel with this staff, and out of Israel came the Savior of the world. To God, it was not just a staff when it was something he decided to transform. This is just one example within the Bible when something of worldly value was used by God. Essentially, God transformed it.

I think this is what happens with worship music. The music itself is just music, but everytime I begin to desire to praise Him with music I think he does something with it, he transforms it to be something beyond just music.

I think God desires to transform our culture, not just American culture, but cultures around the world. He is a God who chose us to be his instruments. He is a God that desires to use us to transform society for his glory. We can be Moses’ staff.