When I was a freshman or it may have been when I was a sophomore, it has been too many years to clearly remember, I had a professor who told us one day in class–‘That was the culture of that time’. He was informing us by those few words that he believed that culture dictated the nature of God’s word and God’s instruction.
Over the years I have thought often on that statement and how culture may influence scripture but I have come to a different conclusion than that professor. Of course that idea that culture influences scripture raises a lot of questions and problems for the Bible believer. Why does only the Hebrew culture get to influence God’s word? Why not other cultures, surely they are more sophisticated than the ancient Israeli one? Then, which culture shall we use when providing God’s instructions and word to other nations and tribes?
There are more questions but answering them is not the purpose of this article. The problems with the ‘culture of that time ideology’ are few. First, this ideology tells the world that secular culture is greater than God’s word. Second, it tells the secular world that unbelievers have the answer and not God or the Bible. Third,it says that God has nothing to offer the world because he relies upon secular culture. Fourth it tells believers we cannot rely upon God, his instructions or commands. His information comes from humans and are not divine edits or wise words of guidance.
Again, these are but a few of the issues that can be raised with this ‘culture of that time’ ideology.. The reason these problems arise are because many people who call themselves Christians do not have a clear picture of God, his kingdom and God’s culture that comes with that kingdom. In the human world culture is taught by the civilization from a secular, corrupt view. it is evil influenced and led.
God’s kingdom and culture is holy, uncorrupted and divinely influenced and led. When we say ‘the culture of that time’ we are implying that the incorruptible has partnered with the corruptible to form a new way to live and that would be very wrong as the Bible tells us that righteous has no fellowship with unrighteous. God’s kingdom has nothing secular or corrupted within it, which means that the culture of God is holy and not influenced by secular forces in any way.
How do we find this holy culture of God? It is told to us in the Bible. God’s word is not influenced by the secular cultures of this world. The Bible is holy and free from evil influence and thought and this fact tells us that we can have peace of mind that we have God’s exact words to follow when we read the Bible. This is not to say that every translation or paraphrase is this way and the believer will have to rely upon the Holy Spirit to lead them to the correct version to use. What it is telling us is that when we find the correct versions to use we no longer have to worry for we have God’s correct words telling us what took place in human history and how we are to please him.
The culture of God is a holy culture , one which tells the secular world God has the answers, he has something to offer them, his kingdom and word is greater than the secular world and that we can rely upon those words to lead us to salvation and the correct way to live. The culture of God sheds light upon a dark secular world, the secular culture does not shed light upon God’s word or its instructions.
The believer is not to import secular ideology into God’s kingdom for then they will be bringing into God’s culture corruption and sin. God does not like corruption or sin nor does he want it in his church. We must take the time to correctly comprehend God’s kingdom if we want to understand how we are to live, teach and minister to others. Holiness does not take its lead from evil or the secular world.
Jesus came to save those who are lost, not learn from them.