For the church to obey the Cultural Commission of influencing every realm of culture as salt and light (found in Genesis 1:28 and Matthew 5:13-16), it is essential that believers learn how to think biblically and articulate biblical principles in the language of contemporary hearers.
As someone who has been involved in teaching and implementing principles of the Kingdom of God since the mid-1990’s I have observed many ways Christian leaders do not expand the kingdom! The following are some of the most common ways we work without kingdom effectiveness.
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.
First of all, it is a mistake to believe that the culture will shift because of a church revival or a societal awakening. Often, we as believers think the key to societal transformation is to convert masses of people, but the truth is that everyone is led by the decisions of the approximately 3-5% of people who make up the cultural elite in a society. Thus, the only way to affect cultural change is to convert the elite who formulate culture in every sphere of society.
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.
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.
Consequently, with every move of God there are always extremes and/or misunderstandings. Of course, I write this in the context of my own local church-centered lens in which I advocate for the supremacy of Christ manifest through the centrality of the local church in each city. (Ephesians 1:22-23 calls the church the “fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.”)
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!
One of the most important things leaders involved with societal transformation need to focus upon is their own personal transformation. Because of our fallen state, all leaders should be in an ongoing process of inner transformation that deals with the root issues of the heart, mind and emotions.
In my opinion, this is the reason why Jesus spoke about the proper attitudes of the heart in Matthew 5:1-12, before He called us to function as the salt of the earth and the light of the world in Matthew 5:13-16! Only changed leaders can truly change culture!
The word of God tells us that the nation of Israel was disinherited because they turned away from God. Various sins were manifest in Israel including idolatry, sexual immorality, false prophets who promised peace, and so on.
Regarding the USA, it happens to be the only other nation besides Israel (that we know of in modern times) to have its founding based on a covenant with the biblical God (the Mayflower Compact). Consequently, it is my opinion that the USA is held to a higher standard of accountability to God than the other nations of the world.
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!
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.