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Cultural Dimensions of the Gospel – Part III

by on September 28, 2015

Cultural Dimensions of the Gospel – Part III

South and North
My father’s roots were in West Virginia. He married a Pennsylvania “Dutch” girl. He never did find a way to fit in. The locals always seemed to him to be focused on more money and more land and more…. The poor and seemingly less cultured folks from West Virginia were polite and sharing of the little that they had. They said “please pass the bread.” In Pennsylvania it was, “I need more bread!” The Southerners called you ‘honey’ and ‘sugar.’ They hugged you. The Northerners spoke their incomprehensible Deitch even knowing that the strangers could not understand. They shook your hand.

How could Dad fit in? He did not. He never adapted to the North. He would have been far more at home in a Southern culture. They would have the same Christian doctrine as the North but, would apply it very differently. Is that a sin? Of course not. The easy-going South seemed lazy to the North. The extreme diligence of the North seemed materialistic to the South. Is that sin? Of course not.

Both cultures were impacted by the Scripture but they had very different applications. That is true in many places in the country and in the world. Do not force your culture on someone else. No matter how much you think that farming is part of the gospel. It is not necessarily so. All cultures can be informed and controlled by the Scripture and still be quite different in application.

My father could easily be taken advantage of in the North. He thought the asking price was the fair price. He did not know that he was to offer far less and then, after dickering, come to an agreed price. He would pay the price that was asked to the shock of the high-price-asker. He was easy to take advantage of. He did not know that people would intentionally take advantage of him. Christian people. He did not understand that that was just the way the culture operated. For him, the playing field was not level.

How is it with you and your congregation? Do you focus on the Scripture teaching and implement that teaching/doctrine or is your focus elsewhere? Is the Church of Jesus Christ your passion? If it is, then teach and live the Scripture and inform all other cultures that you meet about that culture-changing message. Allow those people to adopt the Scripture principles within the individual elements of their culture.

Dad thought that the culture in the North would eventually understand him. They did not. Their cultural practices were their culture. They were Christians but the cultures clashed. That is not necessary. Do not try to force your specific applications on other cultures. Teach them the Scriptures and allow them to make the applications. That will transform their culture.

We are not called to create clones.
We are called to make disciples.
That is what Jesus said.
That is what we need to do.

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