Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Foolishness of Being Culturally Relevant

In Jared Moore's post titled "We Must Launch Teens Into Culture" dated August 22, 2013, on the SBC Voices blog, he promotes his parenting series called Teaching Story Transitions, but he does not provide biblical reasoning for his charge.  Mr. Moore concludes his article by writing:

"Therefore, let’s train our children to extract grace from idolatry and to connect this grace to its rightful owner: God. Teach them to reject lies of the flesh, the world, and Satan, and to connect God’s truth to Him by the creating, sustaining, and redeeming work of Christ."

First of all, grace is not part of idolatry so that it can be extracted.  Idolatry is sin.  From the Baptist Catechism, sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.  Isaiah readily calls out Judah for the rationalization of sin:  "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness," (Isa. 5:20).

Secondly, Christians do not reject lies of flesh, the world, and Satan by launching into the culture and taking back what is supposedly theirs.  In the New Testament, Paul warns:  "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? ...Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," (2 Cor. 6:14, 17). 

The Bible does not outline a Trojan horse evangelical strategy where we pretend to assimilate and compromise our beliefs with the culture, and later pop out our faith in Jesus, expecting to convert others to Christ.  It just doesn't work that way because we are not of the world, (John 17:16).  The apostle Paul exhorts Christians, as strangers and pilgrims of this world, to follow him as he seeks to follow Jesus Christ because our conversation is in heaven, (1 Peter 2:11; Phil. 3:17, 20).

Just like Christian pastors should not change the worship service to cater to the unregenerate, Christian parents should not change their children to fit in better with the culture.  True Christian parents, who are not of the world, should want their children to be different also.  For our family, one of our goals is to ensure that each boy is "ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh [him] a reason of the hope that is in [him]," (1 Peter 3:15).  If we were to make our boys culturally relevant, the hope that is within them would not be readily seen by others.

Launching teens into the culture is the best way to lose them to our adversary the devil who walks around seeking whom he may devour, (1 Peter 5:8).  All Christians should be salt and light to the world, (Matt. 5:13-16) and witness to our neighbors, (John 4:28-29, 39), but it is foolish advice to require the cultural indoctrination of our children.

"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities," (Rev. 18:4-5).