Dr. Richard Edlin, President of Edserv International, recently wrote a very fine article, IS CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT BIBLICAL?
Anyone interested in the concept of “cultural engagement” and whether it has a valid place in gospel ministry would do well to read this paper.
Edlin points to the link between Matthew 28 and Genesis 1:
There are many things to explore in both of these passages. However, with regard to cultural engagement, we should note first of all Jesus’ Matthew 28 instruction to those who sought to nurture Christians: we should teach them to obey everything that he had commanded us. If Jesus, as part of the one triune God, commanded us to abandon the world as a fallen and irredeemable place, and concentrate only on personal salvation, then that is what we should do. If he has commanded us to recognize that the whole world is his, and that we are to assert the lordship of Christ and the relevance of the gospel for all culture, then that is what we should do. Which is it?
Edlin’s material evokes Darrow’s teaching about the role of the church in culture.
You’ll find lots to ponder. Here’s a summary in Edlin’s own words:
In its most simple form, the contention of this paper, founded in biblical principles as illustrated in Matthew 28 and Genesis 1, is as follows: Our Lord commands us to obey him in everything; the first command that he gave humanity is that we are to exercise a godly response and form culture, doing all to the praise of his glorious grace. Witnessing to the truth in Christ is culture-challenging, undermining the false gods of our present age, so that cultural engagement is a faithful expression of the gospel. It is not cultural acquiescence. In fact, genuine sharing of the gospel requires godly cultural engagement in all those aspects of ordinary life listed earlier in this paper (riding a bus, attending school, enjoying the weekend barbeque etc.). It seeks the welfare of the city in which we live, and it highlights the centrality of the Cross for all of life.
Go here to read the full paper.