In preparation for my sermon this past Sunday I was struck with the question “How does the culture affect the church?” Now, it’s not that I haven’t asked the question before, but because I was preaching an introductory message to help set the stage for our new “Hand Delivered” series on the Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3, (breathe here!) I was forced to ask myself that question again. In a number of the letters to the churches the local conditions had affected the church.
- In some cases it was the religious systems in those regions: In Ephesus and Pergamum there was the presence of the Nicolaitans – apparently a false teaching that included the practice immorality. In Smyrna there was what is called the Synagogue of Satan – apparently Jews who opposed the Gospel.
- In other cases it was a certain personality that held the church in its grip: Jezebel in Thyatira.
- In another case it was the luxury and comforts of the lifestyle: the wealthy, rich and in need of nothing Laodiceans.
So, I ask the question. How does culture affect the church? How has it affected your church? Here are some categories to help the discussion:
- Regionally – Does living in the USA have an affect on how we view church or even how we approach God? Does the fact that our church, CVFirst, is located in California, and in particular the liberal camp of the Bay Area, i.e. in the shadows of San Francisco and Berkeley, affect how we do or view the church?
- Ethnically – Is your church demographic primarily White, African, Asian, Arab, Latin American, etc.? Or, is it a melting pot of the sum or those parts. How does that affect the church?
- Economically – Is where your church is located affected by the changing economy? What side of the tracks is it on? How does that affect who you are as a body of believers?
- Vocationally – White or blue collar? Does it make a difference?
I know that the list isn’t complete, i.e. educational level, gender issues, sports oriented, etc.
It is my observation that we are far more affected by our culture than we truly realize or want to admit.
What do you think?