I originally published this blog post about a year ago (see “When Culture Trumps Scripture“). Since there are many new readers to my blog now, I thought I would re-publish it here.
I know what you’re thinking, but this post is not about postmodernity. I’ve read several books about the postmodern culture, the emerging culture, the post-postmodern culture, etc. One of the things that I recognize is that there are good features of almost every culture, and there are bad features of almost every culture. I say “almost every” because I have not examined every culture. There are good and bad aspects of postmodern culture. There are also good and bad aspects of modern culture.
But, what about “North American Evangelical Church” Culture? Are there both good and bad aspects of this culture?
I would like to offer one example of a negative aspect of “North American Evangelical Church” Culture: using biblical words with non-biblical meanings. The following words are generally used in ways that differ from the biblical meaning: church, worship, service, ministry, minister, deacon, disciple, discipleship, praise, and preach.
So what? Why should we care? We should care because when believers read the words “church” or “service” or “preach” in Scripture, they naturally assume that the common cultural meaning is the biblical meaning. What happens at that point? Scripture is reduced to cultural standards, and those believers who do not take time to understand the biblical meaning, are trapped in a cultural understanding that is nonbiblical (at best) and sometimes anti-biblical.
Certainly there may be other ways that “North American Evangelical Church” Culture trumps Scripture. But this is one that can be corrected, if we begin to use words biblically. Am I way off base here?