Never heard of that word before? No surprise there. It’s a word that has been forming in my mind as I have been observing what is happening to the Church (for the last several decades), that Jesus established through His sacrifice on the cross, His teachings and the revelations that He gave to the writers of the New Testament.
The word, “Cultural-ishtianity” captures the essence of the impact that cultures have had upon the true Church. At the root of the word “cultural” is the word “cult.” And for some churches that is exactly what they have become: cultish. Not just the clearly pagan religions, but also some of the well known denominations. They have elevated a person or their denomination, or their secret rituals as opposed to elevating Jesus Christ. They have jettisoned their once strongly held biblical beliefs and practices in order to accommodate whatever the culture declares to be “truth,” regardless of whether or not that cultural truth is in agreement with the Scriptures. Why? Because they want to stay attractive or relevant to those who are not interested in hearing the truths of the Bible.
Did you notice what’s missing from the second part of the word “Cultural-ishtianity”? Christ!! Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me" (John 14:6). Yet, how many of today’s preachers/pastors (of various denominations) have compromised that truth in order to be more “tolerant” and accepting of other religions and their beliefs? In an effort to be inclusive they will say, “There are many ways to heaven,” or “We all worship the same God. We just use a different description.”
Yes, this is a strange title for a series of articles. However, it describes what is happening in the Church of Jesus Christ: Cultures (especially Western culture) have had, are having, and will continue to have an influence the Jesus’ Church, and how its leaders will either cling to, or discard, God’s holy Word as their sole source of truth. I really wish that I could have entitled this series: “Christianity Impacts the Culture(s),” but, sadly, that is not what has been, is now or ever will happen in the future. As we continue our journey towards the end of the age of grace, and move ever closer to the Rapture and the Great Tribulation, the “Christian Church” will fall further and further away (the apostasy) from the foundations of Biblical truth. How do we know that’s true, because God’s Word tells us that this is going to happen.
As Paul is instructing Timothy, he tells this young pastor why it’s so important for him to “peach the word,”
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:1-4).
The time of not enduring sound doctrine and wanting to have ears tickled came many decades ago and will remain.
It is my hope to present a series of articles that will examine “Cultural-ishtianity” and the various places in which cultures have so influenced the Church that it is extremely difficult to find a local church that holds the Bible in high esteem, or a pastor who uses a literal, grammatical, historical, cultural hermeneutic (method of interpreting God’s Word). I will be looking at some of the following areas: Jesus and His claims regarding who He is and what He’s done; when does human life really begin; homosexuality and transgender lifestyles; marriage and divorce; the role of women in the Church; interpretation of the Bible and other topics.
Please do not misunderstand. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with honoring one’s culture or heritage. By all means celebrate that: God created all people of every tribe, nation and language. When I use the word “culture” what I am referring to is the ever-changing morals, values and beliefs that society has adopted that dictate some sense of morality, even if those morals, values and beliefs are completely apart from what God has declared to be true in His Word.
As you think about this word, “Cultural-ishtianity,” think about how churches have changed, adapted, compromised (in a bad way) and whether or not Jesus is pleased with what His Church looks like today. Or, perhaps, some are not really His church at all. Food for thought.
May the Lord give you insight, wisdom and discernment as you think about this important issue.
By His Grace,
Gary T. Dromi, Ph.D.