Book Review: Christians in the Culture

Christians in the Culture (cover)The world around us has changed immensely during the current generation. Some changes may be seen as beneficial (such as certain advancements in technology); however, we usually think of this in negative terms. The reason for this is because our society – as a whole – has departed from a Biblical worldview. This has made the culture around us more ungodly and the sins that used to be shameful even for the world to speak of have become prevalent and accepted.

With this as the reality in which we find ourselves, how should we respond as Christians?

This book – Christians in the Culture: Pursuing Jesus in the 21st Century Western World – seeks to answer that question. The followers of Christ have always needed to be different from the world, yet those differences are even more pronounced now than they were in previous generations in this country. However, we need to be careful not to respond in a way that will hinder our ability to be an influence for good. Consider this quote from the foreword of the book:

“For a long time, Christians have not had to do much ‘swimming against the current.’ Generations before benefited from the Judeo-Christian worldview that dominated western culture. Now, the sun appears to be setting on those days. We do not need to panic or react in unadulterated anger toward this reality. We should understand it, accept it and learn how to swim God’s way no matter how strong the current against us becomes.” (p. 2)

This book contains thirteen chapters written by various men addressing different issues Christians will face in the current culture. This was originally a series of lectures presented at the Cornerstone church of Christ in Centerville, Ohio. Of course, since each chapter/lecture was written by someone different, there is going to be a different style to each lesson; yet each one is beneficial for disciples trying to learn how to navigate the world of the 21st century.

One idea that I thought was particularly good was in Mitchell Stevens’ lesson about raising a family in a secular culture. He wrote:

“The Way we travel, after all, is a narrow path, not a superhighway. I have some experience with narrow paths. I like to hike. When I do, the occasional contact I have with other people on the trail is overwhelmingly positive. I definitely don’t agree with everyone I pass on the trail. I know. I saw their bumper stickers back in the parking lot. I have radically oppositional worldviews from many of them! But just because we are interacting in a simpler place, over a common appreciation of its natural goodness, we have more pleasant interactions. In the same way, the workable way forward is to think closer and simpler. Your power to change the world is in your own home.” (p. 31-32)

It is easy to look at the world around us and how far it has departed from a Biblical worldview and think that we will never be able to change it. Yet instead of looking at things that way, we ought to focus on being an influence where we are. The point is not to have “more pleasant interactions” just for the sake of being nice. Instead, it is to build rapport with others – including those who have different ideologies than we do – so that we can be a light and may have an opportunity to help lead them to the truth.

The topics covered in this book are some of the major issues we will face in the world today. It would make a valuable study for any Christian looking for an overview of these cultural issues.

This book is available from Spiritbuilding Publishers – Christians in the Culture: Pursuing Jesus in the 21st Century Western World.

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