The Gospel and the Cultural Moment(s)

It seems that virtually every day there is a cultural event, even an act of horrific violence, that needs a pastoral response. Quite frankly, I struggle with what my role as your pastor should be in responding to such events. Should I take the time every Sunday to say something about racism, terror attacks, threat of nuclear war, etc…? Should I write an article and give my assessment of every cultural moment that we experience? I’m struggling with this.  I ask for your prayers that I can discern when and how to respond.

Though I’m wrestling with specific cultural events mentioned above, one thing is becoming crystal clear to me more and more every day.  The only solution to the problems of our world, the only thing that is worth commenting on and lauding everyday is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As the author of Hebrews implores us, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23 ESV)  Regardless of the chaos before us, we do have a daily mission before us as Jesus has called us in Matthew 24:14 – to spread the Gospel of Christ’s kingdom coming. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  (Matthew 24:14 ESV)

The Gospel really is the answer to everything.  The light of the Scriptures shines good news onto any and every situation or cultural moment that comes our way. What is the solution to racism? It is more Gospel – more preaching with crystal clarity that we are all made in God’s image and have inherent value as created beings.

What is the solution to hate? It is the more Gospel that teaches we are called to “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31–32 ESV)

What is the solution to fear and terror? “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10 ESV)

What is to be our response to politics gone wild? “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1 ESV)  Yet this must be balanced with the Bible’s instruction to beware of those who would lead us astray (Matthew 24:11).

I heard someone say the other day, “The solution to our problems is not necessarily a Bible verse.” I disagree with this sentiment. Certainly, not one single Bible verse fixes all our problems and solves all the issues of the world; however, there is abundant wisdom from God that teaches us how to live, how to think and how to respond to our cultural moments. Here are a few:

  • “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1–2 ESV)
  • “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV)
  • “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV)

May God help us to think more of Christ and His Gospel. May God help us to think Biblically about our cultural moments. May God strengthen us so that we may stand firm in Him.

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