Christianity and Culture (2)

…Faith in God is not simply played out in a person’s internal spiritual life, or in church on a Sunday, but faith in God is in fact a magnificent system of thought that affects every aspect of a Christian’s life – be it family, work and business, hobbies, wealth, politics, music or philosophy.[1]

The Promised Land for the children of Israel was never meant to be a place of peaceful co-existence with their enemies. Every aspect of pagan culture was to be removed. It was hostile to God, and would be a thorn in the side of God’s people if it was left alone.

God had commanded Israel even before they entered the promised land that in relation to the inhabitants,

…you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them, and show no favour to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods… (Deut.7:2-4).

But the early chapters of Judges show that the children of Israel quickly capitulated. They had abandoned the Lord, so they didn’t have the capacity to continually confront the evil people and practices of the land.

What does this show us? A vigorous, Biblically based Christian culture is vital for the health of any nation. Without it, that nation will commence its downward spiral, just as clearly as Israel did in the time of the judges.

As Buchanan observed,

There is a small problem with neutrality. As Trotsky observed, ‘You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.’ For the church to absent itself from the culture war is to not to end that war, but to lose it.[2]

Furthermore, a Biblically based Christian culture will be based in God’s law. It was the law of God that Moses had said would be critical for taking the promised land. The laws of paganism were to be replaced by the law of God, and this would be the foundation for a godly culture and lifestyle in Israel.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1:8).

As Rushdoony pointed out,

The foundations of all law are in essence religious and theological: they are questions of ultimacy and moral necessity. Law without faith is an impossibility. Every law order is a moral and a theological order, a structuring of society in terms of a fundamental faith.[3]

When Paul was at Athens (Acts 17), he saw their pagan practices, and confronted them in it (v.22-33). He didn’t consider their paganism to be harmless or without cultural and thus practical implication. For the progression is always the same: Religion-Culture-Lifestyle. A people which has rejected the God of the Bible will inevitably show forth that rejection in its cultural attitudes, which will quickly manifest in lifestyle choices as well.

What’s happened to France since its godless Revolution of 1789? Because it threw away whatever was left of a Christian foundation, the nation of France has continued its decline.

Our modern society has clearly followed this progression. It has rejected the God of the Bible, and so a generation ago our legislators added this practicality: they passed atheistic, pro-abortion legislation, which not only kills babies, but harms women also. We thus abort 90,000 babies a year in Australia, and think nothing of it.

The solution to the problem as always, is in the hands of the church. It is we who must go back to the Ten Commandments, along with the rest of the law of God. Our faithfulness in preaching and teaching the law and all its applications, will be the first step towards reclaiming the nations of the world.

That will require our faithfulness and leadership, and there will be opposition, both within the church and without. The task of fearless preaching and teaching, with all the social applications called for, is something we simply cannot avoid any more.

Hasn’t it always been this way?

 

 

 

[1] Taken from a funeral eulogy to Australian Reconstructionist Ian Hodge (1947-2016).

[2] Patrick Buchanan, “Papal Neutrality in the Culture War?” (www.lewrockwell.com), 16/11/2013.

[3] Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.893-894.