Culture Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope

Over at Boar’s Head Tavern there’s been a discussion going on about cultural “wars” between Christians and, well, everyone else. How far should Christians go in confronting the culture at large? Should churches be involved formally in politics, social agendas, or lobbying? Should a pastor use his pulpit to preach only Jesus – or should he also preach what Jesus might do in today’s political climate? The question may seem simple, but the ramifications are not – and looking at history’s various churches and their failed attempts at striking the right balance only makes us wonder that much more. Where is the dividing line between too much and not enough? Where should the people be involved, where the organization should not?

The first question then is “what purpose does the church, as an institution, serve?” If we understand what churches actually supposed to do, we can understand better how to go about doing it. In the times of Acts, there was no clear distinction between the Church as a body of believers and the church as a formal organization. We do see that the Christians met together regularly, and from what I can tell in Scripture, the gatherings served four major purposes. I draw these primarily from the specific examples of the early church in Acts, and I think a good summation can be found in the post-Pentacost gathering described in Acts 2:42 – “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Continue reading Culture Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope