I realize that bringing the word "culture" into a conversatioin can be a tricky thing. The question I have about the subject surrounding this word is "Are we as a Church making an impact on our culture?" This question opens the way for many more questions but we can sum them all up into one key question, "Which culture are we talking about?" With this question it becomes necessary to clarify a definition of or an understanding of terms being used. My reference to culture means the whole of humanity. The whole of humanity is a very large tent and a multi-year study in sociology with a focus in social subcultures (that makes my head hurt just saying it) might scratch the surface of all that such a study would involve. For this discussion, let's agree that culture refers to the social norms of our modern times. In other words, what people believe and how they behave based on their philosophies and personal perspectives.
There are two distinct considerations for the Christian to think about when it comes down to determining whether we are impacting the culture, any culture. First, the culture of human spiritual condition and second, the culture of the expansion of Christ's kingdom. these two kingdoms have collided and the Christian has been given specific instructions from the Lord on how we are to impact the culture of our day.
It is an appropriate approach to determine the core principles and priorities of these two cultures in conflict. As Christians, we need to remember our Gentile roots and our old life and with that, understand we were exactly like the culture of fallen humanity is. Confronting and impacting the the culture of the spiritual gentiles takes our confronting our old lives in the old world. The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 4 is telling the Ephesians and us that we are to stop living like the lost, depraved, reprobates and to live the higher calling in Christ.
If Christians, within themselves, are conflicted over hearing, accepting, believing, trusting and obeying the Word of God, it is little wonder that these Christians are in open conflict in their homes, work, relationships and what should be the unwavering continuum of growth in faith,favor and fellowship. Impacting the culture of ourselves begins the course and path for imp[acting the culture around us.
"We cannot make a change in others if we, ourselves are yet unchanged."
Pastor Jim Allee