Christ and Culture (Part 1)

Written by Aleck Cartwright

Continued from page 1

In order for culture to be rejected in favour of Christ, logic requires that God Himself is not a part of culture. This would make sense if we only knew God as solely spiritual, but we also know Him as incarnate. He shows His nature in creation, which expresses His attributes, in Jesus by incarnation as a specific and very cultural human being (Hebrews 2:14-18), as well as in believers today throughrepparttar indwelling Spirit of Christ in every believer. Since we are to follow Christ in all things, we should follow him inrepparttar 126994 cultural dimension as well.

2. Christ is of Culture Cultural Christians claim that Christ is to be understood asrepparttar 126995 highest aspiration and fulfilment of culture. So it is possible to affirm both Christ and culture and to deny any necessary opposition betweenrepparttar 126996 two.

Culture can be interpreted through Christ, whererepparttar 126997 elements of culture that are most complimentary to Jesus' work and person arerepparttar 126998 best; as are those things that can be understood of God through culture.

In this way they are most accommodating, reconciling Christianity with what appears to berepparttar 126999 greatest achievements of culture. The early church had it's share of Hellenizers, Judaizers and Gnostics who joined Christ to their mystical philosophy, and inrepparttar 127000 same way today there are many who attempt to reduce Christianity to practical morality and Jesus Christ to one of many great moral teachers.

The error of this option is equal to, but also in direct opposition to separatism in that it is so concentrated onrepparttar 127001 world that while focused onrepparttar 127002 horizontal dimension it ignoresrepparttar 127003 vertical dimension. Thus putting very little emphasis on grace or eternity aandrepparttar 127004 afterlife, and producing a self-reliant form of humanism.

Ultimately this deifies man and humanises God, creating theology in man's image through connecting Christ with some cultural movement one wishes to endorse. So we have Christianity AND homosexuality, Christianity AND new psychology, Christianity AND Veganism, Christianity AND political correctness or Christianity AND any other syncretism you could care to mention.

So we end up thinking that some aspect of God can be found in a same-sex relationship andrepparttar 127005 acceptance of homosexual rights. Political correctness in a culture takes preference over whatrepparttar 127006 Bible may say about a subject. And we find that asrepparttar 127007 horizontal dimension gets distortedrepparttar 127008 vertical dimension gets ignored. We listen torepparttar 127009 spirit ofrepparttar 127010 age more thanrepparttar 127011 Holy Spirit.

There is one aspect of accommodation that is relevant to us. When communicatingrepparttar 127012 gospel we do need to adapt it to our audience, that is, while not compromisingrepparttar 127013 message ofrepparttar 127014 gospel we should present it incarnate so that it translates intorepparttar 127015 understanding ofrepparttar 127016 people-group. We need to present a contextualised Christianity, not syncretism. Paul adapted his delivery dependant on whether his audience was Jewish, gentile, Roman or Greek in order to make it relevant to their way of thinking. Jesus didrepparttar 127017 same with His parables. By being cultural chameleons we can takerepparttar 127018 gospel message and find culturally relevant clothing to make it relevant. This isrepparttar 127019 incarnation of Christ inrepparttar 127020 prevailing culture.

3. Christ is above culture In this view Christ and culture are synthesised. This option says that culture has good in it since God createdrepparttar 127021 world and though it was distorted byrepparttar 127022 fall it is not entirely evil, it still has attributes of God in it. So in this view we cannot say "either Christ or culture" because we are dealing with God in both cases and we also must not say "both Christ and culture" as if there was no distinction between them.

Thomas Aquinas believed thatrepparttar 127023 church is simultaneously in and beyondrepparttar 127024 world, leading people to salvation in heaven, while affirmingrepparttar 127025 best in this world's culture. He believed that God has purposes inrepparttar 127026 temporal as well asrepparttar 127027 eternal realms. This option affirms a stable relationship between church and state as well as encouragingrepparttar 127028 conservation of values and authority. The church should back uprepparttar 127029 government's authority to maintain order. So inrepparttar 127030 earthly as well as inrepparttar 127031 Heavenly realms there is a hierarchical organisation in church and state.

There is one King overrepparttar 127032 temporal andrepparttar 127033 eternal and we have practical solutions for livingrepparttar 127034 Christian life within culture and gives incentive for government and education as well as encouraging academic principles. The danger is thatrepparttar 127035 church will socially stagnate and fossilise with it's emphasis on values and authority, it may perpetuate dictatorships and prevent legislative reform. If respect for temporal authority is too great, there is a danger that man made laws will undermine God's law.

There is also no separation of church and state, leading to prohibition orrepparttar 127036 evil of forcing people to change their beliefs by relying onrepparttar 127037 sword rather thanrepparttar 127038 word. The integration of church and state to make people believe things is evil and pretty impossible because changing someone's behaviour produces a hypocrite, and even though you can change someone's behaviour through force, it still does not mean you have changed their belief.

Please seerepparttar 127039 other parts of this article..... Christ and Culture

Aleck Cartwright is an author, journalist, graphic designer, missionary, teacher and Christian who runs his own website called, he writes on and addresses many different topics and issues from a Biblical world-view.

The Openness of God - Predestination, or Free Will? (Part 1)

Written by Aleck Cartwright

Continued from page 1

The argument of openness theologians is that God has been taken hostage and held captive by classic theism where His transcendence is overemphasised and His personhood asrepparttar Trinity downplayed. They say this view of God is inconsistent withrepparttar 126993 revelation of God through scripture, namely that God can suffer, grieve and repent.

One would think thatrepparttar 126994 opposite ofrepparttar 126995 God of classical theism would berepparttar 126996 finite God of process theology, butrepparttar 126997 openness of God is clear that God does intervene and will certainly bring history to a conclusion in line with His will and purposes-with or withoutrepparttar 126998 help of mankind.

Openness theology also teaches that any claims aboutrepparttar 126999 nature of God that are logical contradictions cannot be accepted in theology. It has to be all or nothing as inrepparttar 127000 case where one says that God knowsrepparttar 127001 future in absolute detail and with total certainty but still leaves parts ofrepparttar 127002 future open and undetermined i.e. inrepparttar 127003 case of people's decisions regarding their personal salvation.

Another tenant of Openness theology is that true freedom means being able to choose between options without any predetermination. This puts them in a position where neither determination nor predestination are an option. Ultimately it means thatrepparttar 127004 creature assumes and requires a certain limited independence from God. Whereas other evangelicals and Calvanists in particular prefer to accept a more compatible idea of freedom whereby for them, true freedom is being able to do what God knows and has decided is right.Thus they choose to be totally dependant on God, and independence from God is slavery.

For openness adherents this is very foreign, because it ultimately places one in a position that seems to attributerepparttar 127005 authorship of both good and evil to God. It is a powerful and persuasive book, but it does have some serious problems that will prevent even sympathetic readers from embracing it as a model for life.

For instance can a self-limiting God who rarely, if ever, intervenes inrepparttar 127006 free choice and actions of man be assured thatrepparttar 127007 history of this planet will end inrepparttar 127008 way He desires. For instance every decision we make can have hard hitting and lasting effects in this cause and effect world. A good example would be Peter's act of denying Christ three times. Is there a chance after Jesus told Peter that he would deny his master three times, that Peter would stay true to His master and not deny Christ and God's prediction would thus be wrong?

If God's prediction was wrong, it would mean that God makes mistakes, because God is right about Peter in this case does it mean it was just a good guess or that God really does knowrepparttar 127009 future. The same goes for Jesus' prophecy of Judas as His betrayer,repparttar 127010 bible says in John 6:64,"Jesus knew fromrepparttar 127011 beginning..who it was that would betray Him." Whether Peter does or does not deny Christ or Judas does or does not betray Christ advocates ofrepparttar 127012 openness of God are faced with a dilemma.

Stillrepparttar 127013 real weakness inrepparttar 127014 openness view of God comes whenrepparttar 127015 authors distinguish betweenrepparttar 127016 infinite andrepparttar 127017 personal attributes of God. This creates a tension that they cannot reconcile so they droprepparttar 127018 ball when it matters most They embracerepparttar 127019 personal God and lose sight of His infinite nature. Believing that God must be finite or at least limit himself to being as such, thus He does not knowrepparttar 127020 future and cannot knowrepparttar 127021 future while still be personal. This is very selective andrepparttar 127022 glory of God is lost in this model of God that they are encouraging us to embrace. As a result they tend to take words that mean one thing to us as mankind and finite and apply those same words and actions to God who is infinite. Words such as repent simply cannot be applied to an eternal God inrepparttar 127023 same way as they may be applied to humanity...

This article is continued in The Openness of God (part 2)...

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