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Additional Culture Note September 17, 2006

Posted by rattazzimedia in Christianity, Church, God, Religion, Spiritual, Spiritual Overview, Spiritual Study, Spirituality, Theology.
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In my previous post “Culture Is King” I made the point that the control culture has on our behavior is always working against us following the guidance from God.  The more our culture appears to be “Bible based” the more difficult it is to see that this is true.  This is very important.  Even though it is easy to see from reading the Bible how far a church like the Roman Catholic Church has strayed from God’s instruction, being raised Catholic made it very difficult for me to understand this.  Now the Catholic Church has had more than a thousand years of straying under it’s belt.  Some evangelical groups came out of a reformation “back to the Bible” movement in the 1800’s and as a result are more closely following the word of God.  But these churches have strayed from their initial zeal for the truth.  They rely too much on stock cliches and inferences that are not supported by the text.  They have had less than 200 years to stray so it is even more difficult for those raised in this evangelical culture to see their error than it was for me, coming from a Catholic upbringing.

This is a central Bible principle: religions are always going astray.  Think about it, give me one example where this is not true.  The responsible teacher will train others to correctly handle the Scriptures and separate facts from inferences.  Help people to understand what the text actually says and not what someone says it says.  Each generation must be firmly grounded on the word of God to prevent them from becoming another step in the path away from the truth.  The student of the Bible must in like manner verify that every understanding is firmly supported by the entire text.  Each principle must be tested in this way no matter how emphatically or aggressively it is communicated by the teacher.  Many a false teaching has escaped rigorous examination due to the stern demeanor of the instructor.  The truth is strong enough to stand on it’s own merits. 

Summing up, each of us must make sure that our understand rests firmly on the truth and not on some shaky and imprecise body of inferences that are in keeping with tradition and culture but only loosely based on God’s word.  The more religious you are the more important this is and unfortunately more difficult to see.  Jesus Christ reserved his strongest criticism to local religious leaders.  He said things like this: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!  You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”   Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”  Christ is saying the same thing about the “Culture is king” proposition that I have been. Culture is always working against God and truth.  And there is no place that this is more important yet difficult to see than in religious life.

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Comments»

1. Sterling - September 20, 2006

James,

I agree with your statement that “culture is king.” How did we get to the point where we could “worship God in vain” but still call it “worship”? Unfortunately, I see it as rampant among churches and even contagious.

We have to let the truth stand. It is what sets us free. Thanks for your words and perspective.

2. Sarah - November 21, 2006

Good,but what was James Culture like?
From the book of James, like when did it happen,
where did they live,what did they eat etc..


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