Last week, one of my Facebook friends shared an article that was, at least, bizarre: “Porno-Gospel”. Yeah, you read it right. I did not open the message. I, like you, had a clear idea what was going on. Churches today, are trying and doing everything that they can to attract people and to become more and more like the culture around them.
8 – The Church Is a Countercultural Movement
In his famous series of lectures, which became a book later as Christ and Culture, H. Richard Niebuhr proposed five options for the church of Christ to relate to culture. They are:
- Christ Against the Culture
- The Christ of Culture
- Christ Above the Culture
- Christ and Culture in Paradox
- Christ the Transformer of Culture
It seems to me that the church today is choosing the second one, agreeing with the culture and bringing the today’s culture inside the church. We are trying hard to welcome the culture, instead of transforming it.
The Scriptures are clear about our relationship to the culture. We are a countercultural movement. In his first letter, the apostle Peter helps us to understand where we stand in relation to the culture. Here are some things that Peter wanted us to have in mind when we deal with our culture:
We have a different Lord
This is the first and most important aspect dealing with our culture. We have a different Lord and God. this is what Peter writes: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1Peter 2:9.”
Peter emphasizes this truth many time in this verse, “Chosen people”, “people belonging to God”, “you are the people of God”. Our Lord is a gracious and merciful God, totally different from the other god that our culture is offering to us.
We have a different Life
The second thing that Peter helps us to understand is that we should have a different kind of life. Here is the text: “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1Peter 2:11.” Today, we cannot distinguish between the Christian and the non-Christian. They both behave under the same guidelines, dictated by the culture, which is the opposite of Christianity. Peter here is admonishing the church to live a good life, full of good deeds to glorify God.
We have a different community
Peter also tells his readers that we have a different community. The church is the congregation of the believers, founded by Christ himself. Here it is the text: “As you come to him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him — 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1Peter 2:4.” This community is built with living stones. It is a spiritual house, with holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.
This is why the church is a countercultural movement. We are and must be an unique organization with the objective of transforming our culture.
Have a blessed week,