Sunday, October 9, 2011

Christ - The Culture of The Church

In light of Chapter 2 I thought I would put up this video message entitled Fine-Sounding Arguments – How Wrongly ‘Engaging the Culture’ Adjusts the Gospel. I first heard this message last year at T4G and found it compelling. The speaker is Thabiti Anyabwile. It's pretty long but worth a listen for some interesting perspectives on the whole issue of culture.

If you would rather just have audio, you can find it here


  1. If you are getting tired, here's few second half highlight points:
    53:00 What does it mean to be God's people?
    57:10 The Gentile "Question"
    1:00:00 Multiethnic but Monocultural and the NFL AllStar Game Analogy

  2. This is definitely worth a listen by everyone!

    At about 9:30 he focuses the contention of "engaging" the culture from Paul's talk to the Colossians 1:24 ff - "If we set out to engage the culture, whatever that means, we will likely see in subtle and sometimes profound and sometimes disastrous ways the gospel being adjusted in that process of engagement if we are not careful."

    Right on! A great way of summarizing the essence of Chapter 2. What ways has our own culture affected the gospel message we deliver? Then we have to be careful in bringing a worldly philosophy and worldly approach in our message and our attitudes to our South African partners.

    However in the sense of understanding the culture of our receiving partners, the "belonging" I was suggesting should not be the reverse problem of engaging them in their culture in such a way as to then adjust the gospel to sound right and still be wrong! Belonging in this sense is being Christ - a servant humbly serving and preferring others over ourselves. It is living the gospel in a way that points to Christ and trusting Him to help us discover culturally relevant ways to do that. Like Jesus was with the Samaritan woman and like Paul lived every day - see 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV):

    19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

    Our purpose is not to win the culture, engage the culture, change the culture, but to proclaim the gospel as rooted in the Word of God then live consistent with that gospel to highlight the wrongs in culture and quite probably set it out over and against the philosophies of the world. I think we can still do that while "belonging" with our target people in their culture the way Paul describes. Is this possible? What do the rest of you think?