What are some strategic ways we can integrate our faith in today’s culture to make a significant impact for Christ? It begins by understanding the culture in which we live in.
Dr. Jeremiah Johnston discusses culture and reaching others with Dr. Karen Swallow Prior and Dr. Josh Chatraw, co-authors of the book “Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues.” This book provides a panoramic view of Christian responses to the pressing issues of our time. The writers explore aspects of culture, including formal ideas and worldviews that are passed on, precognitive assumptions, and social and physical dimensions of life. Josh expands,
“We’re all swimming in this thing called culture. Culture is inevitable. It’s the phone I use, this radio podcast. We can’t jump out of culture; we can jump out of particular parts of culture.”
To have a historical, ideological, and intellectual framework for current cultural issues, Karen explains that Christians can do well to educate themselves by reading.
“All that good books can do for us, and even truth itself, is something we still have to receive and apply. Good books can expand our understanding and knowledge, but only if that’s what we are really pursuing. When we read good literature, we express the image of God in us. We understand ourselves and our world through language. We are narrative creatures who live our lives with an understanding of story. We are expressing our humanity and expressing God’s image within us.”
Not only reading but listening well is imperative in order to understand and converse regarding other perspectives. Of course, knowing Scripture is the basis for our beliefs as Christians.
As Josh points out, 1 Peter 3:15 says we should have a conversant faith that hinges upon gentleness and respect. Jeremiah emphasizes the importance of being a good listener.
“Are you a good listener? If we’re not good listeners, we’ll never be good at evangelism. If I’m not a good listener, I’ll never be good at witnessing. I want to empathize. When you look at the episodes in the gospels, in these long conversations that Jesus had with individuals, notice what a great listener He was. What a great reminder to us today.”
Engaging in today’s culture isn’t always going to be easy, but there are effective, practical ways we can be the salt and light of the world and advance God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Dr. Joshua D. Chatraw and Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, authors of “Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues,” address hot-button issues including sexuality, gender roles, immigration, and more. Prior is a professor of English at Liberty University and Chatraw is the director of the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement for Liberty University.Virtuously integrating faith with culture