The Evil of Cultural Christianity
"So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit you out of My mouth." (Rev 3:16)
A Christian is one that belongs to Christ and follows literally His commandments for his life. This does not mean real Christians are perfect; the true facts of the matter are that NOBODY, except the man Jesus Christ, will be perfect in this life. Christians will struggle with sin ALL their lives but by totally relying on the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, they will be holier a little more every day, until they will eventually die and go in the presence of God and be made perfect by Him by the Grace of Christ. It is ALL of God and only by His wonderful Grace: "5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ––by grace you have been saved–– 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:5-10)
A real Christian knows that by himself he can do nothing as his Lord testify: "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (Joh 15:5) and he glorifies the Lord for that.
A cultural Christian is one who was possibly raised in a Christian community, but does not follow the Christian religion seriously. Cultural christian is a broad term describing individuals who identify themselves as Christian, but who generally would not be described by real Christians as active in their faith. Others to describe these individuals usually use the term pejoratively; to mean that their spiritual understanding or practice is displayed as underdeveloped or superficial and not relevant to their daily lives.
Many people who call themselves Christians are actually not. They are cultural christians, for example, most people in their culture belong to a certain denomination or church, or pseudo-Christians (they may have ‘prayed’ a prayer and ‘accepted’ Jesus as their Savior, but have never truly committed themselves to follow and obey Him), or social Christians (people who attend a church because it’s a ‘good and acceptable thing to do’). Like other so-called religious people, they follow a form of ‘churchianity’ rather than true ‘Christianity.’
A hallmark statement of cultural christians is not the full hearted admission that without the Lord Jesus Christ I can do nothing but rather relying on self and arrogantly say: "I am the Captain of my soul".
Cultural christians can also be covered by the term. "carnal christians".
To note that "cultural christians " are not necessarily "nominal christians". “Nominal Christians” – Christians in name only – is a subset of cultural Christians. They rarely, if at all, worship with a congregation. In addition, they have a negligible emotional attachment to God through Christ, a denomination or a local church.
This table, prepared by Oswald Chambers offers an excellent comparison between Biblical and cultural Christianity
Only understood by those who are joined to Christ through the cross
Believed by the masses to represent genuine Christianity
A personal relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ, based on faith. John 17:20-26; Rom 8:37-39
A religion based on humanist logic, "feel good" experiences, and popular interpretations of Scriptures.
Come to God through…
Faith in Jesus Christ Who has revealed Himself in His Word and by His Spirit. John 14:6
Faith that our own good works and intentions are good enough.
View the Bible as:
The absolute, unchanging, Word of God. The Bible is inspired and guarded by God --- including its honest reports about evil acts among God's people. 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:25
A collection of guidelines, allegories, myths, and stories useful for good living. Offensive verses must be ignored.
Our goal is...
God's approval. To know Him, do His will, follow His way, and live each moment in fellowship with Him -- by His wonderful grace! Gal 1:10
People's approval. To please, not offend, the world and its communities.Fun, feel-good fellowship.
Source of Strength
God’s unlimited grace and power. Gal 2:20; Philippians 4:19
Our human abilities -- plus God’s help when "needed."
See our human self as…
Weak and inadequate apart from Christ. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Strong and capable if we have confidence in Self.
See sin as...
Leading to spiritual bondage and death. Rom 6:23
A normal part of life. Ignore it, or you might offend someone. Or enjoy it, for "God understands" you needs and inclinations.
Deal with sin through...
Confession and faith: trusting Jesus as the "Lamb," our Savior who bore our sins on cross. Rom 6:1-6
Try to do better next time, or just tolerate it. Don't offend anyone by making them feel guilty.
Caring for people...
Bring people to Christ. Demonstrate God’s love. Trust God to meet needs by His Spirit working through our surrendered lives. Rom 12:9-18
Bring people to the church or group. Don’t tolerate uncompromising Christians who might offend people. Do to others as you would have others do to you.
Response to suffering:
Trust God to use suffeering to deepen our faith and endurance, prepare us for ministry, and demonstrate His love and power. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
Pray, endure, and trust that God will help. It's okay to challenge God’s love, power, and purpose -- and to seek quick relief through whatever means available -- no matter how it conflicts with His Word.
Trust and follow God. No compromise. Rather die than betray our Lord. Rom 12:1-2
Trust and follow feelings and human logic. Compromise essential to avoid offending the world.
Faces rejection and persecution. John 15:20-21
Get along and influence the world.
Bring God's love and good news to the needy, then bring the needy to Jesus.
Adapt the church to the "community" so that everyone will feel at home.
Eternity with Jesus, our Shepherd and sovereign King. 1 Peter 1:3-9
Success, acceptance of all people, fun and fellowship in this
Most Christians today would probably fit within the category cultural christians. Their self-identification as "Christian" is more cultural and social than religious. These are people who might say that they were "born Christian." They are often born into ethnically conscious families and are therefore baptized, married, and buried in a particular church, but have little or no interest or concern about its teachings or the meanings of its practices. A relationship with God through Christ may be either non-existent or as a Refuge, a Supplier to needs, or a Place where to receive "magical" blessings on a want basis. Perhaps a code of etiquette is linked to their notion of Christianity. Cultural christians serve on church councils, vestries, boards, and the like in the same spirit as they would perform any other volunteer service to a charitable organization.
Many people claim to be Christian. Most of them don't bother to go to church. They lie, cuss, cheat, and steal. They believe that God will let them into heaven because they are basically good people. When they see a car with a "Jesus" sticker or a fish magnet speeds pass them on the road they may even think: "well there goes another religeous hypocrit". Well, they may be right about the person driving the car with the fish magnet, but to believe that you are going to heaven because you're basically good is just as hypocritical. God says, if your going to get to heaven by your own goodness, then you have to be perfect! As we said before no one is, exept the man Jesus Christ and only those to whom the Lord God grants to become the sons of God by his unsearchable Grace: "And He said, Therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father." (Joh 6:65)
Nevertheless, cultural Christians have an emotional commitment to their denominational or local church. Occasionally the emotions are of a love-hate quality. Among their primary concerns might be the social standing of a given denomination and the zip code of a specific congregation. When they attend Services (which might be weekly), it is out of habit or family obligation, not religious conviction. For them, being Christian is essentially a cultural identity and, selectively, a source of general human values; they may actually be quite secular or humanistic in their day-to-day thinking. Cultural christians has analogous meanings among the categories cultural Catholics, cultural Episcopalians, cultural Baptists, cultural Jews, cultural Buddhists, etc.
An example in history of "cultural christians" can be seen in the Roman Empire. In the year 313 AD emperor Constantine for purportedly political motives had the Roman/Hellenic pagan religion supplanted by Christianity making it the official state religion. Prior to that Christianity was suppressed and oppressed on and off. In that time anyone that was a Christian could not hold official office of any kind and was ostracized. Once Christianity became the state religion one had to be a "Christian" to hold office, the table was turned, so to speak. Thus, what happened, the church was invaded by pagans to demonstrate that they were "christians", for practical reason. Constantine himself took the titles of "Pontifex Maximum", "the Bishop of Rome and of the empire", the same titles the pope has today. These pagans brought with them their pagan idols and because many of them were capable people, slowly they infiltrated the church hierarchy introducing their idols in the church under other names. In effect they paganised Christianity in time. The result of this symbiosis can still be clearly seen in our days, check the idol Mary, previously called Diana. So, in effect, these became "cultural christians" for they went religiously through the "Christian" practices (to demonstrate their affinity to it) but did not have a salvific relation with the Lord Jesus Christ.
These days, in many "churchianity" circles (not only the worldly one) "culture" is heralded, as the most important thing in our society, but culture is man made and mostly by the world and the world is at enmity with God. The Apostle Paul considered man made things as dung: "Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," (Phi 3:8). Indeed, after death what we bring with us worthy of the Kingdom of God is only the knowledge we gained of Christ and Him crucified, for the rest is but dung and it will be useless in the Kingdom. All your degrees will be of no use in Heaven. A truthful test to see whether a thing is of God or not is to check if such thing is promoted and loved by the world, if it is, then it is highly suspected as false in terms of God. Just put all the things we take for granted as good in our culture under the Kingdom’s fiery rules and see if at least one measures up, not one will be found. It is culture (all cultures) that must submit to the inerrant Word of God, not the contrary.
Let us look at Europe, this region has seen a huge falling away from Christianity and the emptying of churches since the advent of Democracy after WWII, but it is now in the process of metabolizing into "cultural cristianity" mostly out of fear of becoming "Eurabia". If Muslim migrations continue as they now are, they will gain much influence on how people vote and the consequent political landscaping changes. We see for example how Britain is lowering its breeches to please the Muslims present on its soil, for example the Bible is being removed from schools and hospitals for it offends them and the Brits bend even further to please them in providing them with land for Mosques and forbidding what have always been Christian practices. However, there is a silent underground political/religious movement of cultural cristianity taking form in trying to combat the advances of Islam on their own turf, these cannot be described as true Christians, but cultural christian using the Christian thing.
Across Europe, the threat from Islam has made it imperative to find a minimum consensus to bind its variegated societies together. The multicultural model, promoted by the Leftists, has clearly failed, since it has resulted in cultures based on grievances, rights and demands that the government owes to its citizen a living. And now they are running for cover, even though they have willingly omitted any reference to God in their new constitution.
Even the secular German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ has this to say: "German churches are facing a fall into insignificance" ‘Idea’, an evangelical Christian news service in Germany says: "churches are losing members in droves, political leaders ignore the moral admonitions of clergy, and Christian values are having less impact on society. According to a recent poll, only 37% of the German population thinks the church should teach moral values. The German public believes the police, political parties, and the environmental organizations such as Greenpeace are more qualified than churches to pass along moral values."
Still it is very possible that, in coming years, this will pave the way for more and more Europeans to say they are cultural christians as a means of self-assertion against the gains of Islam on their soil. In other words, while Europe may continue to be godless, it may see a great deal more religion such as cultural cristianity flourishing on the land.
Why is cultural cristianity evil?
Because it has false pretenses. Like the fig tree that our Lord cursed for pretending to be fruitful with all those many green lives"18 ¶ Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungry. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said to it, Let no fruit grow on you henceforward forever. And presently the fig tree withered away." (Mat 21:18-19) "And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots." (Mar 11:20)
Jesus was a man, and submitted to the infirmities of nature; but He was an active Man, and was so intent upon his work, that He probably neglected His food for He was about His father’s will, He did not pleased himself, for He would willingly have taken up with green raw figs for his breakfast, instead of a warm meal. So He went to it, expecting fruit, because it had plentiful leaves indicating the presence of fruit; but, finding none, he sentenced it to a perpetual barrenness; this represents the state of cultural christians hypocrites in general.
The evil of cultural cristianity is the sin of hypocrites; it is the lie to represents itself with a blooming appearance, when in fact it is barren, false and without spiritual fruits.
"So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit you out of My mouth." (Rev 3:16) This image is intensely strong, and denotes deep disgust and loathing at the indifference, which prevailed in the church. The idea is that the Lord will utterly reject and cast off such churches and all professing Christians, and Christian churches, that are lukewarm (or cultural), have special reason to dread the indignation of the Saviour. Usually one vomits out something evil that has entered the body and here our Lord used this very visual truth as a powerful example to make the point clear. Nothing can be more disgusting than vomit.
The evil of cultural cristianity is to serve God and mammon; to move between two opinions, and not knowing what religion is best, and to care little for any, yet keeping in a round of duty, though indifferent to it. It is evil that takes up with the external form of Christianity; and has no thought about the glory of God, the interest of Christ and truth; these are very loathsome to Christ, hence the warning and the judgment: "21 ¶ "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Mat 7:21-23)
But with the Lord there is always hope in this life for He says: "Repent, then, from this wickedness of yours, and petition God if perhaps you will be forgiven the thought of your heart." (Act 8:22)