Darrow Miller and Friends

What A Nation’s Culture Reveals About its God

Culture arises from the cult … when belief in the cult has been wretchedly enfeebled, the culture will decay swiftly. The material order rests upon the spiritual order. … The culture can be renewed only if the cult is renewed; and faith in divine power cannot be summoned up merely when that is found expedient. (Russell Kirk, Civilization Without Religion?, 1992, emphasis added.)

That sentiment will look familiar to regular readers of this blog. At the Disciple Nations Alliance we often talk about the close relationship between the worldview of a culture and its level of poverty vs. development. Nations thrive to the extent that they worship the Creator and live within the created order. Nations tend to be impoverished when they worship mankind or animistic deities.

A nation reflects the nature and character of its citizens’ God, or gods. What about your nation? What is the nature of its God or gods? Look at the culture and you will discover the cult. Nations die when they fail to worship the Creator God. A decay in cult (worship) will result in the death of a culture and the nation founded on that cult. Nations are restored through spiritual revival, reformation of culture, and the rebuilding of laws and institutions that reflect the nature of the character of God.

Kirk, a literary and social critic, writer, historian, and political theorist, was a traditional conservative moralist who helped lead a revival of conservativism in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century. One of the books that had an impact on shaping my life and thinking is Kirk’s The Roots of American OrderHis essays, Civilization without Religion? and Renewing a Shaken Culture will give you more insight into his thinking.

You will find more about the themes of culture and nation building in my new book  Emancipating the World, in the chapters “The Culture Wars,” “Captivating Culture,” and the “Reawaking of the Cultural Commission.”

– Darrow Miller

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).


  1. kudzai masimira

    April 24, 2012 - 6:03 am

    It’s so true that a societies culture, poverty or development reflects who or what they worship. My country Zimbabwe is a highly christianized country, yes we do say we worship God but as the hard times have come and the hope of the church in God has been checked, we find that people have shifted back into animism and they have brought this mindset into the church of saying because we worship God this way we expect him to respond in this way.
    We have modelled God into an idol, like the idols we worshiped before we were born again. This is also partly because we never really renewed our minds after salvation so we have fallen back into what were enculturised which is a contractual type of worship or relationship with God . Hence we see corruption is on a high, a lot of human blood sacrifice to the god’s to gain or keep positions in leadership or to be more successful in business. christians also bribe their way up the coperate ladder or to avoid paying the penalty for breaking the law. Poverty is on a high because people worship gods that only take more and more from people, even giving or tithing in church is no longer out of hearing God and walking in obediance but out of trying out a method of how this God operates for my own selfish ambition. Zimbabwe has fallen because we have not allowed God to use the nation for what he intends but we have leaned more to the ways of an unredeemed culture that says the gods can be appeased to manipulate them into shaping our future the way we want it.
    So i think Zimbabwe does need a spiritual revival and a reformation of culture, like it says in 2Cor 3:18 ‘with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being transformed into the same image’. We need to start seeing the Lord for who he is and not what we want him to be.

    • admin

      April 24, 2012 - 2:05 pm

      Thanks for your response, Kudzai. Your reflections indicate you are thinking through the implications of your nation’s culture and how the Bible is understood and lived. May God be much at work in Zimbabwe today!

      – Gary Brumbelow