Competing with Culture

[370 words]

King Solomon knew he was in for a fight. He knew it would be a challenge to keep his children from giving in to the pagan culture that surrounded them. He would plead with his son to listen (knowing it was a very real possibility he wouldn’t):

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent…my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths…” (Prov. 1:8-10,15).

Solomon lamented that rebellion against godly parenting led to heartache and grief:

“A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him” (Prov. 17:25).

“The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father” (Prov. 28:7).

Apparently, it has always been difficult to get the next generation to see the urgency and value of godliness. The peer pressure to go along with the waves of current culture is powerful. We are made to feel ignorant and unloving if we hold to the ways of God rather than to the worldly philosophies of the moment.

With this in mind, we must believe and emphasize the following ideas to the next generation (from the book Faithfully Different):

The “nicest sounding” beliefs are not necessarily the right beliefs. Saying “love is all that matters” sounds nice, but it isn’t true (cf. 1 Cor. 13:6; John 15:18-19). 

The truth is narrow—and that’s ok! 2+2=4 and Jesus is the only way to Heaven (John 8:24, 14:6; Matt. 7:13-14, 21-23)! 

Godly humility does not require indecision about our beliefs. We can’t know everything, but we are not so naïve as to think we can’t know some things (John 8:32).

Experience does not supersede the Bible as a source of knowledge. We must test our experiences against Scripture, not change our beliefs to fit our experiences. 

The cure for cultural disagreement will never be to compromise biblical beliefs (1 Cor. 16:13; Eph. 6:13; 2 Thess. 2:15).

Bart Warren
South Green Street church of Christ
Glasgow, KY

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