Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kingdom Culture

According to, the definition of "culture" as it relates to human experience is: "the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another."

Growing up as an American, I am constantly faced with how much of my thinking regarding God's kingdom is sourced in the "ways of living built up by a the group of human beings"! Some don't see this as a bad thing, but the more I am faced with the truths of scripture, the more I find a holy discontent with what I've considered true for most of my life. I don't find what has been transmitted to me to reconcile very well with what I see revealed in scripture! Yet, it seems like much of has been called "Christianity" is just an attempt to meld principals in the scriptures, and principals of culture into a "Frankenstein" of sorts. The proof that it's messed up is that it doesn't work in every culture! A quick trip or two out of the USA will quickly prove that to be true.

So what is the solution?

The gospel contained in scripture is trans-cultural. That means it is relevant in any culture on earth, despite the specifics of that culture. The scriptures describe a Body of Christ that is made up of every tribe and tongue and nation. Since our earthly cultures are distinct, and often at odds with one another, what else is there? How then should we live?

The essence of living as part of the Body of Christ on this planet means living in a new Culture of the Kingdom. This could be said to be the sum total ways of living designed and orchestrated by the Trinity and imparted to us by the God's own indwelling Spirit as we follow Him. Unlike earthly culture, this is not transmitted by people and passed from generation to generation - something I think we've witnessed enough of in the religious psuedo-gospels of our day, but rather something imparted in our hearts as we encounter Jesus Christ in all his wonder.

For me, the scriptures then become a description of what this Culture of the Kingdom looks like. For too long, we've treated the scriptures, and even Jesus himself as a set of principals used to guide us to a "christian" sub-culture - one that ultimately has Man at the center and not something altogether different and new.

From what can be seen in John 17, the Culture of the Kingdom is supernatural - and when it is functioning will demonstrate to the world that Jesus was sent from the Father.

The world is not interested in a sub-culture. That's nothing new, and is just the work of human beings. However, the super-natural culture described in the scriptures is something altogether different, born of God and possible only through His Spirit transforming our lives. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he taught us to pray saying things like "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"?

By God's grace, I believe we're seeing this Culture of the Kingdom begin to take root here in our country and across the world. Perhaps soon we'll witness the fulfillment of Jesus' requests to the Father in John 17.


No comments: