Friday, November 8, 2013

2. Worship, the Gospel and Culture

Culture "consists of all the shared products of human society,” (Sociology, Robertson 1987, 55.) from everyday objects to invisible structures such as a field of knowledge. Traditionally there have been a number of paradigms describing the relationship between Christ and culture. However, a right view of worship and a broader definition of culture changes the way we view that relationship.

Groups of people naturally develop sub-cultures. What’s the relationship then between the Gospel and a particular sub-culture? Roman Catholicism continues the Old Covenant paradigm of dividing culture, the sacred from the profane. The first Protestant error is selectivity, God only speaks to some aspects of culture, for example marriage and preaching. The second (and more obscure) Protestant error is Theonomy, which is selective about which aspects of the Gospel, in this case the Old Covenant law, applies to the wider culture. Ideally the Reformed approach is to view all of culture equally and the Bible holistically, through the Gospel categories of Creation, Fall and Redemption.

God created everything and put man in the centre of his creation to rule as his steward. However man falls from this place in the cosmos and introduces evil into the world, is cursed for this by God and the order of things is broken, a brokenness that corrupts all of culture. The truth of the gospel is that God restores us through the sacrifice of Jesus back into worship. The truth of this restoration shines out across all culture. Christians are sometimes ashamed of the cultural patterns that they develop or thoughtlessly buy into the wider cultural patterns of other ideologies. But the personal salvation of particular individuals has wider cultural implications. Gospel ideology like any other ideology has cultural implications and if true, eternal consequences.