The Intersection of Gospel and Culture

Monday, September 27, 2021

Written by Alan Vink

Categories: Gospel and Culture

Comments: 0


Good Morning and Welcome to this week’s Gospel and Culture update, by Alan Vink
The Intersection of Gospel and Culture

Monday 27th September 2021

The Intersection of Gospel and Culture

I started this blog in February 2020 having field tested it for a few months prior. It is intended as a compliment to my Thursday Blog to Pastors and local church leaders. I felt both ‘prompted’ and encouraged by some colleagues to ‘dip my toes in’ after I had written a few Thursday blogs on cultural and moral issues in NZ society.

Since then I have developed this bi-line. The purpose of this weekly ‘Gospel and Culture’ blog is to assist pastors and Christian leaders to quickly understand ‘key’ issues of the day and how they might intersect with the Gospel, Church and with Christianity generally. It is essentially a ‘curated’ blog that raises between one and three current issues and directs you the reader to a reliable article, podcast and/or a website for further reading. It is my contribution to help us ‘think Christianly’ and to develop a Christian world-view. Jesus prayed for us in John 17, “I’m not asking you, Father, to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one………make them holy by your truth”.

Almost immediately I found myself having to comment on Covid-19, US politics, NZ politics (both countries had elections last year and both were unusually controversial for quite different reasons), referendum questions on Euthanasia and Marijuana and more recently on the Covid-19 vaccine. In most of my Gospel and Culture blogs I will raise a topic or two and then express my own Point of View (POV). It is intended to stimulate thinking, prayer and conversation. I am ever so grateful to those who do find my reflections helpful and to all those who have opted in since I started writing this blog.

Needless to say I have had a few detractors and others ‘unsubscribe’. All that is fair enough and certainly understandable. I guess in some ways I see that as a positive thing. Some folks read it and either don’t agree or are even upset with me while others thank me. As a blogger and commentator it is simply par for the cause.

I’d like to share a few more specifics as to the ‘Why’.

  1. I believe in the ‘salt and light’ ministry that Jesus has called all His followers to. As salt, we provide a moral conscience to our society and help preserve all that is good and right. As light, we expose the darkness and show the way. Further, like the ‘men’ of Issachar who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 13:32), we should do similarly. I feel a certain call to speak and write prophetically in our day.
  2. I believe that truth can be found in many places but all truth ultimately comes from the one who made all things (our Creator) including truth itself. That’s why when Jesus said ‘I am The Truth’ (John 14:6),He was saying a deeply profound…..truth.
  3. I believe that as Christian leaders we need to ‘think deeply and read widely’ so that we can give an answer for the hope that we profess. 1 Peter 3:15 says “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” Certainly many if not most folks sitting in front of us on Sundays are very interested in what the Bible says on LGBTQ+, sexuality and gender, marriage, abortion, euthanasia, climate change, terrorism, secularism, cultural Marxism etc etc.
  4. I believe that as the Church we are called to be counter-cultural. We are ‘in’ the world but we are not to be ‘of’ it. We are called to be distinctively Christian in all we say and do.That means we must exegete accurately the moral, social, cultural and yes political landscape in which we live and then exegete a biblical response rather then buy into the popular narrative of our times.
  5. I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the answer for the world today.
  6. Finally for now I really care the world my grand children are growing up in. It’s not flash, right? What can we do - indeed what must we do to help our kids navigate this mine field? How can I and the Church I love say or do today that will make the world tomorrow a little better and a little kinder and a little more good and a lot more Just.

So, whether we like it or not the Church, Christianity and the Gospel must in fact intersect with the culture and surrounding society. This blog is my small contribution, perhaps one guide (along with others) when you are at that intersection and not quite sure which way to go. It goes without saying therefore that I welcome your feedback and comments including those who disagree with me.

Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.

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