We’ve got culture. All you have to do is listen to us talk. Where do we learn to talk like this? New converts after just a few months are very adapt at using our terminology. They have “asked Jesus into their hearts”, were “raised in a Christian home,” have “rededicated their life to the Lord,” and, of course, have “accepted Jesus as their personal Savior.” My point here is not that these phrases are bad in and of themselves. My point is that we all (generally speaking) talk the same way. We use the same phrases. Where do we learn this? Where do our people learn to end prayers “in Thy name”, instead of something drastically more biblical (like, “in Jesus’ name”)?
We’ve got culture. And it’s not Trinitarian. It’s not Nicene. It’s not even Biblical. It’s American and it’s fundamental, and (thanks to Christian radio) it’s evangelical. We do not talk about Jesus as “Light of Light,” he is “our personal Lord and Savior.” The fact that we and our converts speak this way should instruct us in what we emphasize in our culture. And it should confirm to us that we have a culture.
Of course we have a culture. We by necessity have a culture. We like to think that we are above culture or that we are objective arbiters of what our culture is. Not so. This is akin to trying to pull the splinter out of our brother’s eye while a Redwood is protruding from our own. We are unable to tinker with culture in this way. Culture is not a buffet where you take and leave what you will. Culture is rooted in us deeply; it comes to us veiled and we adopt it without even knowing it. How many times have you begun a prayer, “Dear Father, thank you for this day . . .” Where did you learn first to thank the Lord for the day (whatever that means) when you pray? Where did you learn that joy is supposed to be like winning a high school basketball game? Where did you get the idea that a songleader is supposed to be a cheerleader? Where did you get your idea of what David’s dance in 2 Samuel 6:14 looked like? Our culture is much more homogenous than we like to believe.
We’ve got culture. And it’s bad.