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The Bible and Cultural Issues

Sometime during the twentieth century, most churches decided that scripture said nothing at least important or necessary about cultural issues. Around that same general time, churches began ignoring what were violations of scriptural teaching on certain practices, once believed and kept by churches that embraced God’s Word. They divided up the Bible into doctrine, practice, and then culture. The latter was minimized or depreciated.

Cultural issues, unlike at least the doctrinal ones, were given labels like “non-essential,” “tertiary,” “peripheral,” or “Christian liberty.” Scripture teaches Christian liberty, but does not categorize scriptural requirements on cultural issues as Christian liberty. “Culture” means way of life, so in eliminating cultural issues from biblical teaching, scripture no longer guided someone’s way of life. That was at least optional.

What happened? Were Christians wrong for all those centuries, even a millennia, that they applied scripture to the culture? Is there a separate, distinct Christian culture that contrasts with the world or the world system? For over ninety percent of church history, churches did apply the Bible to the culture. True churches expected their people to live out what God said about culture in His Word.

What are examples of culture or cultural issues? The Distinct Roles of Men and Women. Marriage Only Between a Man and a Woman. Standards of Music, Dress, Language, Recreation, and Entertainment. When the Apostle Paul commands in Romans 12:2, “Be not conformed to this world,” he spoke of culture.

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