This article was originally published on indoubt on March 29, 2017, The 2 Missing Steps in Cultural Engagement.
The culture of every generation is infested with sin. Sometimes the brokenness is more apparent in one culture than another, but it’s always there. Sometimes it’s hidden, sometimes exposed. Sometimes disguised as right, other times blatantly evil.
Unfortunately, “back in the day” was just as broken as today as it will be tomorrow.
Humanity has a problem with loving the darkness rather than loving the light. We not only take part in sinful acts, but we think up and promote wrong solutions to problems around us. Sadly, many of us who call ourselves Christians get caught up in the darkness as well. Consider topics like sexuality, family, addiction, Islam, euthanasia, immigration, etc. I think it’s safe to say that there is a lot of darkness in each one of these – in both the culture and the church.
But, what about our questions? How do we not only think well on these issues but also act well?
We often forget that Scripture speaks to the foundational issue of every known act – good or bad.
Too many of us ask the wrong questions to wrong people at the wrong times. No wonder we get answers that don’t seem legit!
Consider these two missing steps the next time you’re overwhelmed by an issue in culture and want answers:
1. Listen to God’s Voice
For too many Christians, the first impulse is to ask unhelpful questions to popular voices. We’ll ask “What does (insert popular Christian leader/organization) think?” without even considering first what God thinks.
The accessibility of the internet and the incredible media distribution of the church in the last 50 years has definitely played a role in building up the body of Christ. But I fear that too many people have lost interest and motivation to attempt to listen to God’s voice in the quiet of their heart and mind, based on the fact that they can easily access anyone at any time on any subject. We think “studying the Bible” is synonymous with “watching someone study the Bible,” or “reading someone’s study of the Bible.”
My encouragement is to go to the Bible and read everything that God says about the issues that are overwhelming you and write down questions based on what you’re reading. I’m not lying when I say that many issues can be resolved, in at least your mind, after doing this first step.
It’s also vital in listening to God’s voice that you pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the power of His Word.
2. Listen to Your Pastor
If after reading the relative Bible passages (listening to God’s voice) you still have unanswered biblical questions, then go to your local church pastor for answers. If they refer you to an online resource/organization/leader, then go ahead and access it!
The key is to learn to ask your pastor questions and then to trust them for spiritual guidance. That’s what God has called for them to be – leaders in the church who help “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)
I believe these two steps will dramatically help you in your questions of engaging culture.