Posts Tagged ‘culture’

How to Apply the Unchanging Word of God in Changing Times

November 22, 2009

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35 KJV)

The scripture I have quoted above has two connotations to it: The first is that Heaven and Earth are subject to change and the second is that the word of God nonetheless is not subject to change. How to apply the unchanging Word of God in a constantly changing world has been a hard nut to break since time in memorial. Jesus for example faced hard times with the religious leaders of his time because they could not accept that times had changed. Christ said these words, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”(Matthew 5:17 KJV). Christ’s time was a time for the FULFILMENT of the Word of God.

Applying the Word of God to suit Changing Cultures

Social Scientists have observed that culture is dynamic. Culture in this article will be defined as shared beliefs and values of a group: the beliefs, customs, practices, and social behaviour of a particular nation, people, or family. And also as shared attitudes: a particular set of attitudes that characterizes a group of people.

When I was a little boy the culture of my community regarded those that used nail polish and face-paint as wayward women. But today the same people have a different culture concerning the use of cosmetics. Actually in the church today women are taught that the use of foundation, mascara, lipstick, eye shadow, blusher, etc is part of cleanliness. I totally agree them because a temple of God should be clean, beautiful, and organised. But the question is: has the word changed or has the application of it changed? Absolutely emphatically NO! The Word of God never changes and its application remains constant but only time has changed and culture has been transformed due to changing times.

I therefore will not be wrong to conclude that sometimes we humans apply the word of God to suit our cultures when it shouldn’t be so.

Do not make doctrines for changing matters

In my culture when we say that something is Cosmetic or plastic we mean that that thing changes as the outer conditions vary. A woman’s make-up for instance alters her appearance in changing temperatures. When it’s cold it enhances her appearance but when it humid it tones down her looks.

Since the Word of God is the same yesterday, today and forever then it should not be used to make doctrines that address ever changing things like lipstick and mascara.

Applying the Word of God consistently

From Genesis to Revelation the Word of God talks about one thing consistently. That one consistent subject is LOVE. Whether we talk about the Ten Commandments the focus is love: On these two (loving God and loving thy nieghbour) commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:40 KJV). Whether we talk about Faith the condition is love: For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5:6 KJV).

Hence love should guide us when applying the Word of God in this ever changing world. In Genesis for example, Adam preached that a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 KJVR). When Christ came 4,000 years later he preached the same and said, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Matthew 19:5 KJVR). Many years after Christ Apostle Paul preached the same words saying, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”(Ephesians 5:31 KJVR). This teaching is consistent because only love can make two to become one flesh.

Herein is the conclusion of the whole matter:

If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don’t let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. (Romans 14:15 CEV)

You see foundation and mascara have never been evil. But some brothers were nevertheless offended when some women years back applied it before it was acceptable. Hence the teachers of the time should have taught the women to walk by love by avoiding the use of it until it had been accepted culturally. Therefore, the application of the Word of God will remain constant in changing cultures if we apply it in LOVE.