Are Evangelicals Influenced More by Culture than Scripture?

Perhaps the ultimate evangelical hallmark resides in our commitment to Scripture. Consequently, we are confident that Scripture and not culture shapes our beliefs and behaviors.

However, Francis Schaeffer in this last book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, expressed concern that evangelicals were allowing culture to dominate. He warns:

“God’s Word has many times been allowed to be bent, to conform to the surrounding, passing, changing culture of that moment rather than to stand as the inerrant Word of God judging the form of the world spirit and the surrounding culture of that moment. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, may our children and grandchildren not say that such can be said about us.”[i]

Have his concerns materialized?

Our existential and post-modern culture makes the individual the center of the universe, placing ultimate authority in his feelings and rights. One of the most obvious indicators of the influence of this cultural orientation on evangelicals is found in passages even in the New Testament that we ignore. Here are a few:

  • Luke 16:19-31 The story of the rich man in Hades
  • “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” Matthew 17:17 ESV
  • Paul’s warning to the Corinthians based on the experience of Israel in the wilderness: “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things…were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” 1 Corinthians 10:9-11 ESV

It might be argued that sermons or books on these passages would not be especially uplifting. So what is the harm of not addressing them? That is the topic for tomorrow.

[i] Schaeffer, Francis A. The Great Evangelical Disaster. Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1984, pp. 63-65.

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