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Christ and Culture (Lecture 2 of 4)

Evangelism Index
Date: NOV-09-02
Source: Capturing Our Culture Conference, Living Hope OPC, Pastor: Tristan Emmanuel
Keywords: Incarnating Christian Culture
Comment: These notes were taken on a laptop during live lectures. Due to transcription errors and subsequent editing, these notes may not accurately reflect the original lecture content.
Posted: NOV-09-02

Capturing Our Culture Without Compromising Our Convictions Conference

Living Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Vineland. Pastor: Tristan Emmanuel

Guest Speaker: Andrew Sandlin, President of the Center for Cultural Leadership, Writer and Publisher,

Christian Culture 2

Book Plug: How to create a New kind of Christian, Sandlin

Sandlin: "I want to write for thoughtful people." Free news letters.

Incarnating Christian Culture

Lecture 2: A Personal talk for Christian activists.

We have learned the hard way over last 20 years several pivotal lessons about activism. Political success doesn't translate into cultural progress. Electing mayors, congress members, presidents, etc. does't change the culture. Sandlin worked to define marriage as one man and one woman. Even an OPC pastor's wife has written to support same sex marriage. There have been losses too. We have failed to overturn Roe V. Wade. It is possible but not likely that the current president would be able to appoint judges to the supreme court who can overturn Roe V. Wade.

We've won some and lost some battles. Even political success doesn't translate into the cultural success. Rosie O'Donnell said that she's elated to learn that each year that homosexual life is becoming more mainstream. In the US we're doing better at turning back abortion than we are at turning back the homosexual culture. Homosexuality unravels the culture. It erodes the culture as the structure of families is replace by perverse sexual appetites. It becomes just one more sexual preference.

During this period we've experienced political success. Getting good Christians in office doesn't change culture. We want to get good Christians in office, but that's got to be backed up by Christians in the background. Some of the people in the Christian activism field, have made serious mistakes and ruined their witness. We need Godly character in the lives of our activists. Why hasn't our action influenced men? We need to change the character and we need to have sanctified people who can be spokespersons for the culture. Otherwise you are going to lose long-term.

Cultural leaders for secularism are deliberate in grooming professionals as cultural leaders. Christians are producing cultural illiterates. It's people not ideas at the center of Christian activism. We need to have the right kind of leaders. Eric Hoffer (an unbeliever) wrote "True believer" as a homespun philosopher he wrote: "the wisdom of others remains dull until it's writ over with our own blood. We're conscious of the world only when it sinks its teeth and nails into us." Young men need to become wise and know when to speak and when not to speak. Deal with people in a kind and gracious way. We need to speak with great love in our hearts. We must have respect and be examples to others.

Ideas aren't enough. I'm gratified that Christians aren't leading our culture because they're not ready for it. We don't have enough of the right kinds of Christians to do that. Do we really want some of these folks who are divisive and destructive in positions of political leadership. Do we want these people to be won for the truth? Why are Calvinists such elitists? We should be patient people . We need to work with more people than Calvinists. We need to influence these people. We need to open our arms wide to all the saints. We have the Baptists. Faithful Baptists are better than unfaithful Calvinists. We love our doctrine and it's good, but we should not cut off fellowship because of inferior doctrine.

We have a real problem in the US with racism. One writer in support of Christian culture said the blacks are a predatory race. This man also cut down Jews. This type of person isn't blessed with any kind of cultural victory. It's not enough to have the right theology and ideas. We need to have the right kind of people. Ideas have consequence only when they have root in godly people. We need to create Godly culture in our own lives and families and businesses. Do you have a huge problem of sin in your own life? We need to note some truths to realize. Christian culture is a prime objective of the faith.

Many good evangelical brothers say our responsibility ends at the church house, or maybe the Christian school. Ephesians 1 says Christ is elevated to the heavens as head of all things. There is no room for a spiritual vs. heavenly distinction. Christ is Lord of the material and spiritual realm. We said that culture is the external manifestation of a societies internal religious impulses. Internal religious impulse is seen prominently in arts, media, universities, etc. The idea that there could be a strong culture without a strong, virile Christianity is absurd. We need relevant Christians and relevant churches. We can't have increasing numbers of Christians and increasing secularization. Press Christ's claims everywhere we are. It's been widely observed, that as a nation we've embraced more libertine socialism. We've supported free markets in the United States. The free sex liberals are winning. They say, "Don't mess with my pocket book and don't mess with my sex life. Don't mess with my taxes and don't mess with my morality."

Don't make the mistake of thinking ... if we abolish the socialism we'll be fine. Libertarianism if not undergirded with Christianity is dangerous as secularism. It must be undergirded by Christian truth. Our only hope is in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and a life submitted to him. Extended to church, business, etc. We need Christian business men who obey Christ in their businesses. There's a group of business men in the US who employ their businesses to advance the kingdom of God in our culture. Teach others to take dominion. God's called you to dominion. We need Christians to be leaders. If we're faithful to the Lord so that we will become leaders. Today things have been reversed. We need to have the pagans follow us.

Ways to act: Five basic points. 1. See your responsibility as larger than home and church. How has God gifted you? Music, technology, art, ministerially. Bring glory to God by advancing His rule on earth. Preaching the gospel means advancing the kingship of Christ. Bring the world under his authority. Christ says, I have substituted My life for yours on the cross. The faith is wider than family and church. 2. Avoid schismatic Christians. Find ways to work together with other believers. 3. Never be satisfied by less than your best. Avoid being substandard Christians. Do your very best and do it first class. Christ is worthy of first class. Do it better than the pagans. 4. Act as if everything is God's. We're going to own all this one day. Recognize that we are the legitimate inheritors of God's earth. We're called to supplant the pagans in a peaceful way. Immerse yourself in theo-centricity, that is, God-centeredness. We have Christ as our head, though things look bad in the thick of battle at times. We won't get everything back in our lifetime. This earth with be covered with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 2) 5. Playing it safe can be dangerous. Some think, if we just stay in our little area, we'll be safe. The best defense is a very good offense. You can't protect your children by refusing to engage your culture. David and Goliath: David got prepared, and he ran to meet Goliath. He took the battle to Goliath. We as Christians need to start doing that. Fortune (providence) favours the (biblically) brave. Best defense is a good offense.

Questions: Q1. Muslim culture: they have a five point program, infiltrating, build mosque, against abortion, etc. Muslims are very zealous. We need to advance Christ's kingdom by the sword of the spirit. Islam is not peaceful. We believe in conversion, not coercion. Islam is a dangerous enemy, and has been for thousands of years. Only comprehensive worldviews can defeat other comprehensive worldviews. Christianity can't defeat communism with three sermons points and a little poem. Warm, pietistic Christianity is not match humanly speaking for a very comprehensive Islam. We need a full-orbed Christianity, not just a pietistic, myopic Christianity.

Q2: Isn't all of Romans the Gospel, including ch. 13 on government and ch 9 on the future of the Jews? A: Yes, Romans 13 & 9 are part of the gospel - we're saved totally by the grace of God. Gospel is a gracious message, but also a command to be obeyed. It's not just a great message to be preached.

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