So what method(s) should Christians use to influence the culture in which they live?”
The Bestseller’s List Revisited
by Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti
Last month’s Synapse discussed the fact that in the United States, only 10% of the top five books, movies, songs, and TV shows dealt with God, while 70% featured violence; 60% money; 45% sex; 40% youth; and 10% politics.
Based on these statistics, two questions were then posed: (1) Why aren’t Christians in the U.S.A. having more of an impact on their culture? and (2) What methods should Christians everywhere use to positively change culture? This month’s Synapse will attempt to answer these questions.
First, let’s take a look at the second question, because answering it will provide the answer to the first:
What methods should Christians everywhere use to positively change the culture in which they live? Should they attempt to have their national government enact laws that favor particular Christian beliefs and practices? On the surface, this might seem reasonable, until one considers the number of Christian denominations that exist. Each one has its own ways of interpreting the Bible. So which denomination’s interpretation should a government consider, and on what basis? Then there is the question of whether or not obedience to such laws actually influences a given culture. Laws can force people to obey. However, will obeying national laws based on Christianity actually influence people to read faith-based books or listen to hymns? One can argue that certain laws enacted by most governments do reflect parts of God’s law. Yet given the statistics above, we must ask to what extent these laws influence any country’s culture. And last, but certainly not least, what about the concept of religious liberty? Didn’t God give Adam and Eve a choice in the matter of obedience? He told them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and why they shouldn’t. But He didn’t force them not to.
So what method(s) should Christians use to influence the culture in which they live? I believe the answer is found in the following quote:
“There is an eloquence far more powerful than the eloquence of words in the quiet, consistent life of a pure, true Christian. What a man is has more influence than what he says.
“The officers who were sent to Jesus came back with the report that never man spoke as He spoke. But the reason for this was that never man lived as He lived. Had His life been other than it was, He could not have spoken as He did. His words bore with them a convincing power, because they came from a heart pure and holy, full of love and sympathy, benevolence and truth.
“It is our own character and experience that determine our influence upon others. In order to convince others of the power of Christ's grace, we must know its power in our own hearts and lives. The gospel we present for the saving of souls must be the gospel by which our own souls are saved. Only through a living faith in Christ as a personal Saviour is it possible to make our influence felt in a skeptical world. If we would draw sinners out of the swift-running current, our own feet must be firmly set upon the Rock, Christ Jesus.
“The badge of Christianity is not an outward sign, not the wearing of a cross or a crown, but it is that which reveals the union of man with God. By the power of His grace manifested in the transformation of character the world is to be convinced that God has sent His Son as its Redeemer. No other influence that can surround the human soul has such power as the influence of an unselfish life. The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian” (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 469, 470).