Capturing Our Culture Without Compromising Our Convictions Conference
Living Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Vineland. Pastor: Tristan Emmanuel http://www.TristanEmmanuel.com
Guest Speaker: Andrew Sandlin, President of the Center for Cultural Leadership, Writer and Publisher,
Christ and Culture 1
capturing the culture without compromising our convictions
Andrew Sandlin & Tristan Emmanuel
November 9, 2002
Books for sale:
A Postmillenial Primer - The Reign of the Righteous - Sandlin $5
News letters from Center for Cultural Leadership - Sandin FREE
Introduction: Psalm 2, Prayer
Lecture 1: Sandlin
We share a faith and necessity of applying the faith to all areas of life.
What is culture? It is the dominate inner conviction of a society, manifested in the arts, education, economics, law, politics, science, technology. A people's religion comes to expression in the culture. Christians need to see outward expression of faith in culture. Ephesians 1 - Christ through the church is Lord of all things. There are no areas of life immune to the Lordship of Christ. If Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.
Today we do not live in Christian culture. We have apostatized from our cultural heritage. We are like an island surrounded by a raging secular culture. Some strong families, churches. But we don't have strong Christian culture. In the States since 1825 in the North and 1864 in the South, Christian culture has been lost. We look back to Britain where there was a basic Christian consensus. Now we have replaced Christianity with the religion of secularism. From Humanist manifesto 1 (1930's, by John Dewey and others) quote:
"Religious humanists regards the universe as self-existing and not created. Humanism asserts that he nature of the universe as depicted by modern science make unacceptable any absolute values. Must formulate hopes in light of scientific method. We have power for achievement of our hopes and dreams. Any religion must be shaped for the needs of this age. We must establish such a consensus."
Humanists are against Christianity which says we should operate according to the truths of the word of God. Secularism is the notion that there is no God, of if He exists we don't need Him. It's okay to believe in God if we don't publicize him. Our forefathers would have been aghast as such as notion. Long-term society is possible when anchored in the Christian faith and the word of God. Some say we're poised to retake our culture for Christ. Sometimes this claim is sounding brass only. We need to take seriously the facts of our culture. The Bible doesn't change, but our strategy to apply the Bible needs to change. We need to live differently. The Christian's calling needs to adapt to circumstances. We should be wise in dealing with culture. We need to be wise in applying the faith today. Esther 1:13. They knew the times. We need such people today. We need Christians who know postmodern times. We have a fervent commitment to Christian culture. We need to work to revive Christians who the need to revive the faith around the church. If Christ is Lord, He's Lord of our culture.
There's a new book from Sandlin on the resurrection of Christ. Christ is ruling and seated on the heavenlies. He is raised up and ruling over all things. The church is an assorted condition. What about abortion, homosexuality, infanticide, genetic manipulation, socialism, etc.? What does the faith say about these things.
In applying the faith there are a few main problems. There are historicists who want to live in the past. We live in an anti-historical age. In the US a founding liberal, Thomas Jefferson, said the world belongs to the living. Most things Christians belong to the past. Many conservative Christians have recovered a profound sense of the historical. We romanticize about Geneva, Scottish covenanters, etc. There is a glorious Christian culture in the past ages of the church. We wouldn't agree with all of them, but there was a basic Christian consensus. If we walk out today we do not see a Christian culture. There are vestiges of it however, and we should thank God for them. But these are not the old Christian culture. Each branch of Christianity views some portion of history as ideal: Eastern Orthodox - undivided church, Rome - looks back to middle ages, Reformational - Calvin's reformation, Methodists - revivals, etc.. we like to look back to the past "things were so much better." In Eccl. 7:10 we have a warning to not look back to the past. We don't need Latin, cathedrals, trivium, etc. These things don't bring back what's essential to Christian culture.
To recover the culture is not to recover the past. Covenanters, Calvinists, and Puritans had problems. Constantine helped with the creedal development of the church. But it wasn't correct for the emperor to take this role. Past methods were often wrong, and often won't work in the present. The gospel and the message of Christian culture are two sides of the same coin. The Gospel message is the message of the great King, who will save you and be Lord of your life. This is the massage to all men and women. It's not a polite, anorexic, feeble message. Look in Revelation where the resurrected Lord is ruling in majesty. If our forefathers took the attitude that we are to be quiet, we wouldn't exist. Jesus is THE way THE truth and THE life. The Bible and the Holy Spirit haven't run out of steam, spoken reverently. What has changed is the willingness of the church to stand up and proclaim the Lordship of Christ. So there's recovering the past.
Having considered historicists, we consider futurists. We read of the promises in the gospel about the law spreading to the nations from the church. Some are futurists. They read about the future and they want it right now. They get frustrated and angry when it doesn't happen now. It's not enough for the moment to stop abortions a little year by year. One abortion is too many, but reducing them is good. For some it's not enough to have George W. as a basic Christian man with his own errors and weaknesses. Some want the benefit of the Christian future without the labour of getting there from a less than Christian present. It's going to take a huge among of work. Society didn't apostatize overnight, it will not correct overnight either. God put us in a time when he wanted us to work in less than good circumstances. They dismiss the sovereignty of God in the present. They look to the future that God will bring all nations under his rule. But the God who was at work with Paul, Agustin, Calvin, Whitefield, Stonewall, Jackson, etc. is still sovereign today. Some complain "I wish I could be back 200 years ago with the puritans."
But we have benefits from modern times. We have technology at our disposal. Missionaries were able to move around the world in a few months 200 years ago. Now it takes 8 hours. We need to capture the Internet for Christ. We need to use all of this technology for the word of God. We have the means to reach the world with digital messages. We have a basic constitutional civil government. We need to replace a lot of the people in that government. But it's a good mechanism basically. Our medieval brothers didn't have this benefit under feudal systems and monarchies. If you work hard you can replace people. You can hear of the stunning US election - it was a small step in the right direction. Some people were elected who were less socialistic than incumbants. In Jan 2001 Clinton, a very evil political leader, peacefully left Government -- this is unprecedented in the history of nations. God's promise: You will put out the nations little by little. It's amazing and sad how so many Christians are left wing believing that political change is central. We believe that spiritual change is central. Our systems are not designed for dramatic changes overnight. Do we have competent Christians who would be prepared to govern well? We don't yet have Christian culture to support Christian politics.
First you need to Educate your Children in the faith. Let your great Grand Children beat the secularists' great grandchildren. We need to have Christians capturing the most influential places in society - media, education, arts, theatre. We should articulate the truth implicitly if not explicitly in every discipline and field of endeavour. We need to show the unsaved world that Christ is Lord. Let's not despise the day of small things.
Little by little we're turning back gun control in the US. US is in a horrid mess. Homosexualism, abortion culture, Hollywood. But we have a counter uprising. We don't have a strong counter-culture force yet. But we must oppose evil boldly and loudly. John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jesus were lonely voices. We need a minority that will stand unconditionally on its convictions. Be dedicated to win the culture for the Lord.
Q1: What 1825 listed as end of Christian culture in the North? Answer: Unitarianism and transcendentalism rose up after 1825 in the US North.
Q2: didn't George Whitefield have immediate affect on culture? - revivals had huge effect on the culture and laid the ground work for the American revolution?