Through the years, I have been very interested in applying the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to culture. Hence, I have been involved closely and have studied many different models regarding this subject. The concepts regarding how the church should engage culture vary from merely affecting the quality of life of a community to full-blown revival that results in transformation. The following five models summarize my observations and opinions regarding these various approaches.
As I have been travelling the world teaching on the Kingdom of God in many large Christian leadership conferences, I have noticed something of great concern to me. Since many pastors in Latin America, Europe and North America have come from a Roman Catholic background (or a city with a heavy Roman Catholic religious paradigm), their local church application of the kingdom message reflects this influence.
With many laws being passed that have an anti-Christian bias, many believers in the blogosphere are saying that we need to unequivocally submit to whatever the laws of the land are, since this is what Romans 13:1-7 teaches. In other words, acts of civil disobedience—praying in front of abortion clinics, public prayer in schools, and the arrests not so long ago of New York City pastors for praying in front of the New York City Law Department to protest the looming evictions of churches from public schools—are contrary to the word of God. According to the strict interpretation of this passage we should not only cease from all acts of civil disobedience, but we should not even complain about these laws and just pray for our civil leaders.
Almost everywhere I go believers are attempting to apply the Kingdom message to influence the cultural mountains, which are described as the major areas we need to influence in order to transform society: politics, economics, education, family, religion, arts/entertainment, and science.
I have been in countless meetings with church leaders who are impassioned to see a revival in our nation and/or in their churches and communities.
One time, after a national prayer leader spoke on the need for the church to pray for revival, I raised my hand and asked him: “For what purpose do we want revival?” He was dumbfounded by that simple question and could not really answer me.
I have found that revival in and of itself is never enough!
For close to 20 years, the Body of Christ has made great advances regarding the call of believers to influence every mountain of culture for Christ for societal reformation (cultural mountains such as religion, family, education, politics, media, arts/entertainment, economics and more).
For too long the local church has functioned as a straight-jacket, limiting the expression of Christ to merely spiritual things and the life to come. The results have been catastrophic as the church abandoned culture, which has led to propitious moral decay in every cultural mountain!
There is a seismic shift taking place today in the marketplace and the church. We need to understand how to respond if we are going to bring systemic transformation. This article deals with how the church should apply the gospel in response to cultural shifts.
Jesus, John the Baptist, and the apostles went about proclaiming the kingdom–not the church (read Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 10:7; Acts 28:30-31). Although the church is in the kingdom, it is not the entire kingdom.
“Kingdom” denotes the rule of God over the whole cosmos, not just a single entity on the earth, like the church. In spite of this, most preaching today has as its goal to get people to make a weekly two-hour commitment to come to a building on Sundays and to give tithes to support that building! This is because a spirit of religion has captivated the church and blinded the minds of church leaders, so that we now have a very limiting church mindset instead of a kingdom perspective. The negative results of this cannot be overstated.
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