The Clash Of Cultures


       In my travels and in my communications across the internet, I have been confronted with a comment that appears to be a Universal  common denominator which stands in stubborn resistance to the New Testament and practice of the Christian faith. That comment goes something like this; “but Brother Danny, you don’t understand, these are our customs and our CULTURE!”, as if I should be ashamed of demeaning their “culture”. It is common practice here in the U.S. and abroad, for Christians to adjust the practice of the Christian Faith to lay comfortably within the confines of ethnic “culture”. I have been reading a book by the Indian Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. He speaks of the difficulties of growing up in a culture which stands rigidly in opposition to  MOST of the teachings of Jesus. Harsh judgmentalism  is shrouded in FALSE HUMILITY, violent criticism is hidden beneath a CONTROLLED personal appearance, and societal RULES are in stark opposition to one another. When my wife and I visited India five years ago, we saw many gigantic, looming billboards around Kolkata [Calcutta] which boldly advertised CONDOMS with this plea—-”have a safe and fun sex”, and yet it is frowned upon to hold my wife’s hand in public, even after 20 years of marriage. My wife once commented—-”now let me see if I understand, you can adorn the City with billboards that promote extramarital sex, and urinate against a public building in broad daylight, but you cannot hold your husband’s hand in public”? That is the hypocrisy of  “culture”. In India, “LIFE” is sacred. All life! Cattle roam the streets without fear of being harmed. People will make a point of feeding them or giving them water, yet human beings, made in the image of God, lay in desperation along the railroad tracks begging for food. Lest one would believe that I am isolating the people and cultures of India, I ask you only to READ ON.

     Here in America, we exhibit the most PROUNOUNCED hypocrisy of all the cultures of the earth—–especially in the Evangelical Church. The “love of one’s neighbor” is the second most highly regarded command of Jesus. It squares us with the FIRST COMMAND which is to LOVE GOD! Here in America, we stubbornly resist modesty of any kind. We demand LAVISH houses of “worship”, while our spiritual siblings in poor nations gather in buildings constructed with poles and sticks. We drive LUXURY AUTOMOBILES while a young pastor in Uganda begs for a few dollars of transportation money so that he can take the Gospel into the cities and villages of East Africa on the back of a motor-bike. These are but a few reprehensible practices of the religious culture in America. To depart from such practices would be unthinkable. After all, a “certain portion of our offerings is dedicated to missions” they retort. In fact—-”missions giving” is sparse in contrast to the enormous NEED abroad. It stands as a FRACTION OF A DROP in a gigantic bucket——while the American Christian “culture” marches from human glory to human glory!

     In Africa, RANK CHAUVINISM stands in blunt resistance to the admonition of Paul:

Eph 5:2525

 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Even in the Church, the woman is treated as something  valued just above the worth of a stick of furniture. All sorts of “cultural taboos” exist within the church of Africa, and when confronted of their illegitimacy, you will hear that Universal refrain “but Brother Danny, you don’t understand, it is our CULTURE”.  They might even cite ;

1 Cor 8:8-9:1

8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.

10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

—–whereby admonishing the visitor of his responsibility to yield to local customs for the sake of peace and unity. It is NOTEWORTHY to understand that one YIELDS to cultural sensitivities because of the weakness and immaturity of the host brethren. The host should never take advantage of his  own IMMATURITY to cause a FREE MAN to succumb to unbiblical CULTURAL STANDARDS. We are ALL caught up in this nonsense. The most difficult matter for Jesus to address in his ministry, is that of “CULTURE” which is frequently termed “the traditions of men”.  Superstitions abound WITHIN THE CHURCH in Africa. FETISH BURNINGS are very popular in stark contrast to——–

 1 Cor 8:4-5

4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

     Stubbornly they may give an emotional testimony of eye witnessed events, dignifying the “power of witchcraft”, in contrast to;

2 Cor 5:17-6:1

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

     No matter the volume of scripture presented, there are those who remain STUBBORNLY BOUND to superstition. Such things are not “STRENGTH”, but rather weakness through unbelief. It would be near impossible to convince some that all they have to do with that fetish is THROW IT OUT with the other common rubbish around the house. “Superstition” is a method by which Satan makes his last stand in the life of a Christian. We have the same issues here in the U.S except  that we take more sophisticated routes to eliminate our unjustified fears. “TITHE” is a common fear to the common PEW FOOL here in America. They are convinced that if they fail to pay the TITHE to the “mint and cumin”, some tragic event will befall them. There are unbiblical incantations, especially in Pentecostal circles. I once knew a young pastor who laid his hands on each of his children and plead the BLOOD of JESUS over each child before they left for school each morning, as if they were not already in the capable hands of the Almighty. Frightful was this man, that one of his children should leave the house prior to this incantation. He could never be convinced that the JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH, and that the CROSS is an ETERNAL MATTER.  These are STRONGHOLDS OF SATAN and should be abolished from our belief system.  

     We have the REFERENCE MANUAL of the ages, so why aren’t we using it? You need to add NOTHING to our TESTAMENT in BLOOD. You are FREE to exercise your LIBERTY without limit. “CULTURAL RESTRICTIONS AND SUPERSTITIONS” are forbidden in the Christian faith because Jesus said “my Kingdom is not of this world“. The Kingdom of Christ is at POLAR OPPOSITES to the cultures of mankind. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways, let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord”. Let us not shrink from the freedom we have in Christ.   Danny McDowell

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