Peter Jones on Conforming to Culture

I share this quotation from Peter Jones’ eye-opening book, The Other Worldview, for two reasons. First, it is worth both reading and sharing. Second, it also fits perfectly alongside my most recent sermon from Ephesians.

Well-meaning Christians have often made the mistake of thinking that their surrounding culture is, at worst, neutral and, at best, a redemptive work of the Spirit that shares authority with the Scriptures. Emergent church leader Kester Brewin, for example, believes we must admit “our dependence on [our] host culture” and “open ourselves to… and adapt to it,” recognizing its “essential goodness.” If we accept Brewin’s analysis, conformity to culture will seem nature and faithful.

But the basis of the church and that of the culture are not the same. Biblical teaching is quite clear:

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor 6:14-18).

Paul goes on to exhort all Christians, “Since we have these promises, be loved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1). Here’s both a healthy mistrust of the culture and a love for sinners.

Let’s not be fooled. The culture has a mind of its own, a worldview, the “wisdom of this world,” which is the cosmology of the Lie that causes people to worship the creation rather than the Creator. The stakes are enormous, since contemporary Christian expressions of conformity with the culture– insofar as they comprise with the culture’s religious convictions and depart from the biblical witness– are in various ways beholden to the Lie. The world does not need more conformity; it needs transformity. The world needs to hear the Word of God, from outside of itself. It needs to hear and see the truth.

pp. 130-141

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