Friday, April 23, 2010

The Church and Culture

I recently read an article by Ken Meyer in Touchstone magazine (March/April 2010, pages 10-11) entitled, "Contours of Culture." Meyer discusses the relationship of the church with culture, and he notes that there are some important changes in the development of culture in our day.

First, the rate of cultural change is rapidly increasing. And this is continuing with each succeeding and passing generation. I remember reading in the early 1970s a book by Toffler entitled, "Future Shock". In this book Toffler postulates that this kind of rapid change would occur. One of his theses was that change would ultimately occur so fast that people could not adjust, thus creating a social and cultural crisis. Meyer agrees. As a result of this rapid cultural change the church is losing its ability to assess culture; we simply have no time to analyze and evaluate it. Thus, the minister and the church loses its ability to be prophetic with the culture.

Second, the predominating cultural feature of modern culture is that culture is meaningless. According to modern thinking culture is meaningful only as we impose meaning upon it. This is a direct influence of Nihilism and Evolution upon cultural thinking. In the pre-modern era people generally began their meaningful contemplation of reality with the existence of God and the creation of material reality. This gave a foundation for meaningful pondering concerning life and all that exists. We have lost this in the post-modern culture. The sovereignty of the individual and meaningless meditation in cosmology leaves us barren and empty. If the universe is simply a bunch of meaningless stuff, and we ourselves are meaningless stuff going to a meaningless destiny, I mean, what's the point?

The church must rise in our day to proclaim the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of all of this type of thinking. Our thoughts are rooted in the time-tested wisdom of ancient biblical thinking and teaching. We seek to apply in a fresh and modern context the truth of eternal wisdom and knowledge. We assert that epistemologically we are created to "know" that which is "knowable" in the universe, and this knowingness is from God in His revelation. "Knowing" is not related to modern instruments of knowledge; accessing information is not the same as assessing information. May God help us to see the ancient, yea the eternal, for our present time.

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