Culture War

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Culture War

Post by TH Cool on Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:11 pm

Must a kingdom-minded church or Christian adopts a 'culture-war' stance? Is there another way to approach the contemporary culture besides being at war with it?

TH Cool
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Culture War vs Counter-Culture?

Post by C.o.G on Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:42 pm

TH,

I think that's an interesting question.

By "Culture War", I assume you refer to this general definition: "A culture war is a struggle between two sets of conflicting cultural values."

It is obvious that the beliefs of our faith is definitely different from that of the world. My struggle is that often we become too adaptive to the culture that we become led by the world & not the other way around. But in any case, I'm not for the militant (at least, that's the term that comes to mind when we talk about "war") stance of anything that we (as Christians) do.

I hold a very simple understanding of what Jesus taught us & I hope I'm not being naive & hope that I can hold on to that: that we are called to love the world. In my own research (which I hope is comprehensive enough) recently, I found that there is no evidence in the Bible that tells us to fight against the many issues that seemed to vie for attention; in fact, few of them are worthy causes. We are called to spread the Word & His love. If we don't know how to love, we learn how to, not waste time fighting against causes. The recent US elections is one such example of fighting for the wrong cause - saying that Trump is the better choice simply because Clinton is likely to support the LGBT movement (implied, & among many other things she supports) is, admittedly in my limited view of the situation, a sign that we think we are better than God, so that we throw common sense out of the window to settle for someone who will potentially do more harm to the entire world, than just a few isolated causes that Christians are so afraid will become a big issue. Am I making sense? I think if Christians begin to take our call seriously, we would all be focusing on going out & start doing good to those who have not heard the gospel, who have lost hope in the gospel because of the mistakes done by Christians centuries ago.

I believe in being counter-cultural. I believe that the church should lead the way instead letting the world drag us by the nose. The culture is creeping into our faith without us realising; perhaps we have noticed but do not wish to do anything about it. I don't know whether if that could imply being militant, but I personally see that it doesn't have to...

What do you think?

C.o.G
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Culture war

Post by TH Cool on Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:04 pm

It is the whole argument and the simplistic attachment of Trump as a new born Christian by evangelical leaders like Dobson that caused me to wonder must Thy Kingdom comes be fought this way. I don't think going on war is the way but by sanctify the culture. I have not thought through and through. But I can't agree with the approach by what some are doing in endorsing Trump. The simplistic thinking that Thy Kingdom come is through political power fails to understand that the world belongs to the meek. Transform culture means how do we engage the world that is opposite to the kingdom values. So instead of alliancing to someone whom may advance the agenda, and turning blind to the tactic that goes against kingdom values, is to approach the matter with kingdom values. Asking ppl not to be quick to condemn Trump but yet quick to label Clinton as anti church.
My thought is engage culture the way Jesus did, working on the lives that we meet, walking the values being said. Maybe simplistic but would a ban of same sex marriage prevent ppl from homosexual practice? Or conservative judge therefore bring the nation to fear God?
If the church use the same tactics to fight the culture war, there is no different from the world, even though fighting opposite values.

TH Cool
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Re: Culture War

Post by C.o.G on Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:46 pm

Exactly... I think our thoughts are quite similar...

Ya, one of the reasons why even Wayne Grudem (such a surprise) was because he is a new Christian. My gosh. Don't they know that a new Christian needs to be discipled & help them to grow before they can be a leader? It's too convenient to expect him to do the right thing just because he is now in this position & he has become a Christian... I am with you to say that I do not agree with this thinking too. Sad

I concluded from my research that Christians do not aim to be in politics to influence; Christians certainly can be called to politics & certainly can influence policies, but I am not convinced that a Christian president can have a greater influence on the world to push for our agenda. In fact, I tend to see that it will be even more complicated & there will be unnecessary attention & pressures from all arenas.

On the topic of homosexuals, I was happy to learn that what I proposed in another research in how the church should love homos without condoning, was in line with what ex-Bishop Solomon shared in a recent conference about the said topic too. The LGBT agenda is real & serious; but there are also homos (gays or lesbians) who has nothing to do with the agenda & are genuinely struggling. Christians, even pastors, are avoiding them, afraid of them, because of the agenda, throwing the baby out with bath water.


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Culture war

Post by TH Cool on Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:16 pm

Same! I didn't expect Wayne Grudem would join in it. I am afraid it reinforced some secularists that Christians are either naive and simplistic to think a Christian (mature or not) will definitely do a better job than another person. For that, Christians are not able to be critical thinkers. Sometime too naive.
One article pointed that why they are acting this way because the need to have sense of power or to have power. If so, then another evidence that power is a strongest lure / temptation. Even though the intention is noble, but to hold on the power to influence the agenda is extremely hard to resist.
Ethos institute organized a talk where Tan Chuan Jin and Bishop Rennis had a forum on role of religion in society. One of them, I think Tan said The credibility of our voice is tied to the quality of life. I think there's an inportant factor rather than doing the culture war through politics etc.
Christian in politic and public service is to then be a credible one but seeking for common good. The RC tends to have a stronger emphasis on common good. Methodist in my opinion not too bad.

TH Cool
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Re: Culture War

Post by C.o.G on Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:41 am

I tend to think that because our society & culture dictates the way we operate, our thinking of theology is being relegated to just "give me a list of what to do & I'll do it". So as long as we fulfill them, we are fine. So there's no need for critical thinking... I think this is still rather new in Singapore, am I correct?

On top of being uninformed/ill-informed/ misinformed about critical thinking, & being the "nice" Christians that we are, we certainly can't be "criticising" the teachings of the Bible or anything that a church does! Of course, there's another group who swings to the other end of the pendulum... another story for another day...

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Re: Culture War

Post by Noelle on Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:17 am

Some random thoughts as I scroll through the thoughts in this thread:

1. "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” There's room for causes and for fighting against evil, or forces and practices that set themselves against the will of God. God Himself repeatedly tells us to care for the widows, the orphans and the aliens. In our modern terminology, that's a cause.

2. "When world refers to humanity, we ought to love it as God loves people. But when world means the prevailing attitude of hostility toward God and his ways, we should reject it. When we’re tolerant of such attitudes against God, we open ourselves up to spiritual danger." (NIV Quest Study Bible) Again, there're times when we cannot simply share the gospel and love the world.

3. The dictionary defines a cause as "a principle, aim, or movement to which one is committed and which one is prepared to defend or advocate." As much as I do not agree with many of the stuff US Christians are doing, I think they are trying as best as they know how to defend what they believe in. We may not agree with their brand of Christianity but we don't live in their reality. There are many other factors that causes them to behave the way they do towards politics besides their faith. It's just like I hate it when Americans tell me how to vote and how bad my government is through their tinted lenses.

4. Love includes telling the truth and protecting people from harm. If we know something is going to harm people and society and we do not say it so as to keep the peace, we are not loving the world either. So I think it's not an either-or situation - we should indeed walk the talk, engage the culture and live out the values. Yet, we cannot shy away from speaking out for causes and against malpractice/evil. It's synergistic. Salt transforms by penetration and at the same time it also preserves and retards degradation.

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Re: Culture War

Post by C.o.G on Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:57 am

Hey Noelle,

Thanks for breaking the silence! Appreciate your thoughts! For discussion sake, allow me to ask qns because I would hate to go into unnecessary discourse as well (pls don't mind the tone if I sound harsh or argumentative... I'm just interacting with your thoughts):

1. I do agree until recently, I began asking myself deeper qns: if something is a cause - how do we fight it? There are many ways to do it. It's just that many of the purported causes we Christians claim to fight were not worthy causes but self-righteously claimed to be...

Perhaps one of the the reasons I feel this way is because of the weariness I feel in so many of the causes that Christians claim to fight for. If we are fighting for the poor, the widowed, we are using policies, we are using very strong stances... but I'm just wondering context-wise, did Jesus really say to do that? Of course, I'm not saying that just because the Bible records a certain way something was done, it must be applied the same way in today's context. But then, we go on further to fight for anything that we feel is wrong... now it seems all we do is fight. But the real work is still out there... perhaps if we stop fighting so much, & really go do something, things might be different.

2. I think I understand. We discussed something similar recently in class - if we are able not to offend anyone if we were really to talk about the uniqueness of Jesus & Him being the only way, in the context of religious plurality.

3. Certainly. I think our discussions were triggered from that, but may have accidentally veered into criticising them. hahahaha...

However, it is something to think about... what message does it tell the world about Christians? what if Singapore one day decides to vote in a Christian president who has serious character issues. what then do we do? is this even a legit qn to think about? haha... but your #4 kinda also provided an insight to this pt too, i think... if we know Trump is going to harm the society, then we should speak up against their decisions to vote for him, especially to the leaders who believe this is the right thing to do, isn't it? Because the US is still the most influential nation & their decisions will still have an effect on the world.
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Re: Culture War

Post by Noelle on Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:35 am

I'd probably take the stance that we ought to challenge structures, systems and institutions that are against the will of God. Agree with you that using human tools to advance kingdom causes is questionable. But I am also thinking that these tools are given to us, and many times they are the conduits in our world with limitations. Like my hero William Wilberforce who fought slavery through the parliamentary system, Dietrich Bonhoeffer who spoke out fearlessly against the Nazis, these men used what they have in the times of their day, with a hope to bring about a change, an abolition of the structures that are formed against God. And at the same time, their faith forms the bulwark and the anchor for what they do. It's not easy to know when, what, how to fight . May God give us wisdom and discernment.

Yeah this Donald Trump thingy, I agree with you that the principle of speaking up applies. and on the scenario we have a so called Christian with bad character, haha, I'll say an unbeliever is better than a hypocrite! The worst things are done when we can justify our actions with a divine mandate.

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