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Intersect 38


intersect, where the bible meets life


This Little Box in the Corner

They’re everywhere—the culture pundits. Books, blogs, and broadcasts stream from media outlets far and wide trying to help us understand the times. Included in their number are many 21st century “Issacharians” (see 1 Chronicles 12:32), people of God with a discerning eye turned toward the culture.


What’s in the Air?

Certain prevailing winds in society are easy to spot.

Our culture thrives in an electronic existence. The links of social media connect people as never before. Last winter’s revolution in Egypt, of all places, exploded against Hosni Mubarak; Facebook and Twitter were the catalysts for insurgents to vent their rage.
Despite a sputtering economy, raging, reckless consumerism is running on all cylinders. Marketers have convinced us that our “status toys” are must-haves.

The insistent demands of diversity have made all of us minorities, and we’re all mad at somebody, mostly the government.
Our “me-first” posture finds its token expression in the “self-shot”—the self-portrait we take when we stretch our arms away from the phone cam and turn the lens back toward us. It’s all about me!

The aftertaste remains from postmodernism, even when the main course failed to satisfy—namely, our reluctance to identify anything as right or wrong.

The sovereign, subversive voice of entertainment chains our brains to the internet, movies, downloads, video games, earbuds, television, and the cult of celebrity.

Traditional religion continues to find itself shoved to the fringes of a culture that mocks it as irrelevant to reality.

Increasingly, people caught in the web of trans-modern culture find no satisfying center outside of self and, often, none there either. Deep purpose and to-the-core commitment elude them.


Word Must Get Out

Into this fog must shine the searchlight of the Christian worldview. Perhaps no Bible writer says it better than Peter. In chapter two of his first letter, he wrote to bewildered believers set adrift in a hostile culture. His message spans the centuries to help us make sense of our own situation.

First, treasure your identity as the people of God spared only by His mercy. We are a mercy-drenched priesthood chosen to “proclaim His excellencies” (2:9-10).

Be sure to own your status as aliens and pilgrims. We are in the culture, but it doesn’t own us. Be stewards of your stuff, not slaves to it (2:11).

Fight for holiness; otherwise, the forces that drive the culture will take us hostage. What’s at stake is your very soul (2:11).
Even as we do battle, we must live honorably in this current age. Our good deeds testify of our great God (2:12). Serve others. Live kindly. Give yourself in the same gracious spirit through which you received God’s grace in Jesus.

Part of faithful living in the kingdom of God is respectful living in the kingdom of man. Submit to the structures of social order in the culture (2:13-17). This is God’s will. Honor the flag. Support public officials. We serve God by being loyal to His authority both in the state house and in the sanctuary.


In the Corner But on the Screen

Philip Yancey tells of a 2004 incident in the Ukraine that illustrates the role Christians must play in the culture. Reform candidate Victor Yushchenko ran for President against the state party candidate. His opponents even tried to poison him, but he survived—barely. Yushchenko stayed in the race; on election day, exit polls showed him with a 10% lead.

But the state-run television news that evening announced that he had lost. Clearly his opponents had stolen the election.
Yet, while the news anchor told of Yushchenko’s defeat, the deaf interpreter in the little box on the lower right side of the TV screen signed to all the hearing-impaired viewers, “Don’t believe them. They are lying. Yushchenko is President!” No one in the studio realized what she was doing.

The deaf population texted their families and friends, other journalists picked it up, and the “Orange Revolution” ensued. A million people wearing orange poured into the streets of Kiev demanding a new election. The government caved, and Yushchenko won the vote.

Until Jesus comes and we “own the station,” Christians must be the little box in the corner of our culture. All who watch us must see the truth amid the deceptions of prevalent culture. Whatever the voice of the age says, our voice must tell the real story.

Intersect (Where the Bible Meets Life) is a regular column of ONE Magazine featuring Dr. Garnett Reid, a member of the Bible faculty at Free Will Baptist Bible College. Email Garnett

Coming Next Issue: E-Readers examines the importance of the timeless Word of God in a digital culture.






©2007 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists