What Changes the Culture?

It isn’t high-profile events, nor becoming an “influencer” or gaining “social prominence.”

… these efforts have not produced a single dent in our largely secularized and secularizing culture. If anything, it seems we have been spending money and effort only to register some small movement at the periphery of our society. The central idols of the society, however, have not been touched yet. The homeschool movement was and continues to be a smashing cultural success for Christianity; but it took no special efforts, training, or strategic planning or campaigns to do so, only the commitment of individual fathers and mothers, and a few small publishers to make the first steps. In comparison, all the Christian colleges and their classical liberal arts programs, all the Christian movies and music makers, and all the sound and fury of Christian organizations for capturing this or that “cultural mountain” still have their “successes” registered only in the small eco-chambers of their own small niches. As I have pointed many times before, just about 100 years before whatever happened in the Presbyterian churches in America was front-page news for most newspapers. Today, there is no Christian organization, ecclesiastical or not, that would capture the interest of the broader culture, despite all our efforts to “influence the culture.”

Science, Engineering, and the Kingdom of God by Bojidar Marinov

Christians seeking the approval and attention of powerful men will gain their reward from powerful men.

“LOOK! The Masters flung a bright, shiny penny down the street! Run and get it!”

<Insert: sound of Christians stampeding,
so very eager to get a pat on the head from those we truly fear>

Better to serve God: and one way to serve Him is by serving people who cannot repay you. They cannot repay you… but God can. And He will.

Another way is to provide solid, excellent performance to your employer.

I recommend entrepreneurship, myself: with many ’employers’ to serve, you are not at risk because only one dislikes you, and ‘fires’ you by ceasing to buy your services.

There is a multitude of such examples in history, the most amazing of which is the victory of the early church against the Empire in the first three centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection: Not only the Church was not culturally visible, it had to hide to survive. And in the final account, the catacombs won the culture over the palace. Social visibility doesn’t produce cultural influence.

Then what does?

Jesus explained it in Matt. 20:24-28 (also Mark 10:41-45; Luke 22:24-27):

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

The mother of sons of Zebedee had come to Him and asked Him to place her sons in a position of high social visibility: “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” Jesus’s answer was, “You don’t know what you are asking for. My social visibility is of a different kind. And in fact, in the new world I am about to inaugurate, cultural greatness will be defined in a different way: not through being socially visible, but by being a servant. Or, as Dennis Peacocke summarized it perfectly well three decades ago, in God’s world, “whoever serves, leads.” The culture is never and has never been dominated by crafty political manipulators, or artists, or movie producers; these have, at best, only followed the culture. The culture itself follows those who serve. This truth manifested itself in Jesus’s life as well, when in John 6:26 He said that the real reason the people were seeking Him was not the miracles (that is, the high social visibility) but the fact that they ate of the bread and were filled (that is, real social service).

This, now, leads us to an important conclusion: if we want, as Christians, to influence the culture, we need to be looking not for ministries and occupations of high social visibility, but for those of real service. Whoever wants to be great culturally, must be the servant of the culture. And servant means not someone who simply speaks with culturally acceptable cliches of pretended humility – as so many of our churchian celebrities today do – but someone who has identified the real needs of the society and works to minister to those real needs. And in order to identify those needs, he has gone to the Bible, and to the meaning and purpose of man’s life, within the framework of God’s Covenant. And then, when he has identified and defined those needs, he has organized his life and the lives of his children – in terms of training, education, and career choices – to meet those needs.

This bears repeating, and bolding:

[I]f we want, as Christians, to influence the culture, we need to be looking not for ministries and occupations of high social visibility, but for those of real service. Whoever wants to be great culturally, must be the servant of the culture. And servant means not someone who simply speaks with culturally acceptable cliches of pretended humility – as so many of our churchian celebrities today do – but someone who has identified the real needs of the society and works to minister to those real needs.

OK, on to the science bit:

True covenantal service, therefore, must be sought not in socially visible positions of power. It must be sought in those occupations and ministries that help develop the productivity of mankind. It is there where we can only expect to achieve such positions of authority as to influence the culture. And it is there where we need to focus our attention and the attention of our children.

There’s hardly a need to explain to modern Americans the importance of science and technology for the enormous levels of productivity – and therefore prosperity – that our world today enjoys in comparison to previous generations. there’s probably not much need anymore to explain to American Christians the Christian origin and the Biblical foundations of modern science and engineering. Whatever mythologies secular historians may devise to claim some non-Christian origin of modern science and technology, historical data are clear: we owe our science and technology to the development of Christendom in the last 1,000 years. Indirectly, we can see the proof for this Christian character of science and technology in the cultural agenda of the enemies of Christianity today: it is not just by mere omission that Common Core math is designed to confuse children using completely illogical principles of reasoning. It is not by chance that environmentalists and socialists and global warming alarmists and others like them have made their target the technological development of the West. It is not by chance that modern governments are trying to take control over and restrain, where possible, technological development. (Think of the recent decision of several European countries, and of some US cities, to ban Uber and Lyft, for example, or to control Internet.) This war against science and technology is not a side issue to the covenantal battles of the Kingdom of God; it is one of its main battles. Technological growth is a testimony to God’s victory; His Dominion Mandate to man is being fulfilled even with mankind still burdened by sin, and only lifted by the redemption of Jesus Christ. For this technological development to happen, more and more people – whether Christians or not – have to abandon their pagan worldviews and adopt the worldview of the Bible. Whether they believe the Bible or not, they have to agree with its presuppositions in order to be able to do science. In the Dominion Covenant, even the enemies of God are forced to learn more about Him and His Kingdom. They may hate it, but they have no choice. The worldview of the Gospel – which only makes science and technology possible – will eventually permeate every area of man’s thinking.

That’s where true service is. Especially in America, where, because of the retreat of the church and the Christian families from education, we have allowed math and science instruction to deteriorate to disastrously low levels. We are a culture increasingly dependent on technology; which, in itself, is good. And yet, we are a culture that is increasingly incapable of supplying the job market with technicians and engineers trained to not simply perform tasks but to understand the very processes they are supposed to control and manage. That’s the real reason why US companies are forced to h ire more and more engineers and technicians from abroad. Donald Trump recently spoke against US companies hiring foreign engineers and technicians; thus, he vowed to cut the work visa quotas. He imagines that US companies just don’t like to hire American employees. This is nonsense. The reality is, we don’t have the trained engineers our economy needs. Very soon we will either have to abruptly repair our education, or open our borders to immigrants; else the US will lose the enormous technological advantage we have always had over the rest of the world. President Trump’s near-sighted policies will only lead to an economic disaster.

And here, Christians can make the difference. Because it is where the culture is bleeding where true service is needed. And since our culture is bleeding in the field of trained scientists and engineers, because of the low quality of math and science education, Christian homeschooling families can and must effect a change by changing their educational and career priorities. There’s a void to be filled; we must be there to fill it. That void is not in the area of high social visibility; it’s not that we don’t have enough actors or movies or music bands or social activists or politicians or lobbyist groups or even lawyers. Sure enough, we need Christians in all of these fields, and we need Christians who know what the Word of God says about all the areas of life and action. But our overall focus must be where the void is, and how to fill it. A void in the culture – especially a void which has to do with productivity and therefore with the Dominion Covenant – is God’s opportunity for the church to engage in real service. If the church doesn’t take up the challenge, someone else will.

I, for one, am weary of Christians just sitting there with folded hands, while the enemies of God take up the mantle of service (yes: not just the faked up image of service, but sometimes real service!), and thus, leadership.

We need real humility, a commitment to real service.

As well as a willingness to pay the price to serve God and people well.

THAT is the road to cultural victory.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.