Christianity and Culture (8)

Western civilization is the historical product of Christianity. Without Christianity, the development of the West would have been radically different. Of course, secular humanism and various intermediary philosophies have contributed greatly to the growth and shape of Western institutions since about 1660, but without the impact of Christian thought and culture, the foundations of Western secular humanism would not have been laid. It is impossible to think of Western culture without considering the historical impact of Christianity.

We give thanks to God for all the good things in life we have. We thank Him for bicameral legislatures in most of the West, the rule of law, and the fact that (generally) political leaders are not above the law. We thank Him for freedom of the press, and (when it’s practiced) the free market, for the technical revolution in communications particularly in the last 20 years, that has made communication so cheap.

The internet and Google means that knowledge on any subject known to man is no further away than my office computer, and it’s essentially free. Who needs volumes of encyclopaedias any more, which were out of date the moment they were printed?

The internet and Google all make life easier and cheaper for the average person. Why would I ever bother to go to a shop and buy a newspaper again, when I can look up the latest news on the internet, any time of day?

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), a Christian, discovered the laws of planetary motion. Michael Faraday (1791-1867), a Christian, was the father of modern electronics. Matthew Maury (1806-1873) was a Christian man who was raised in a godly home, who took Psalm 8:8 seriously (“…whatever passes through the paths of the seas…”) when he joined the US Navy. He became the world’s first oceanographer, who published “The Physical Geography of the Sea,” in 1855.

In the arts as well as science, Christians have made vital contributions. Think of Bach and Handel in music, Milton in literature, and Rembrandt and Durer in art.

Christopher Columbus was a Christian, as were Alfred the Great and Florence Nightingale. Christians have had important contributions to make in the past, and the future will require the same. We all have work to do, in all aspects of society.

This requires that Christians are willing to assume their place confidently and without reservation, in the callings God has placed upon us. Some of the most fundamental of these are as godly fathers and mothers.

Why is this fundamental?

If Christians really want to begin at the beginning when it comes to changing their culture, they’ll have to start being teachers of their children. This is such an important task, we should be cautious before delegating it to others, who could (and often do) misrepresent us.

In speaking to Timothy, Paul said:

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well (II Tim.1:5).

Education in the life of children is a significant responsibility in the cause of the dominion of Jesus Christ. Consider these scriptures:

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man who quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate (Ps.127:3-5).

Then there is,

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you (Prov.23:24-25).

In Western society today, there is nothing glamorous about being a responsible father or mother, taking on the education of their child. But it is a clearly transformational task, when the task is accepted as unto God, according to scripture. A child who grows up having the understanding that God made the world in 6 days, and He made me to be a capable and responsible individual in His world, who will ultimately give an account to Him in eternity, has an entirely different perspective.

This perspective is radically different to the evolutionary approach, which essentially teaches a survival of the fittest, dog eat dog, kill before you are killed approach. Darwinism, when logically and consistently applied throughout society, really is awful and frightening, as exemplified by Communism and Nazism. Most modern politics is little better.

You may never be famous being a parent who educates your child, but it is a vital aspect of Christian faithfulness. Your name won’t be in the headlines tomorrow, for teaching your 6 year old to read, or as you explain the first chapter of Romans to them. But doing these things is simply a logical step for a Christian parent, who takes the Bible seriously.

Conclusion:

Christians have impacted culture in the past, and they most certainly can today, beginning in the Christian family. And this will require the action of Christian parents, picking up and following through on their scriptural, God-given tasks.

The most common adjective Paul used to describe his fellow workers, was faithfulness. The Bible teaches us it’s better to be faithful than famous. Christian parent, is faithful the adjective that God will apply to you in eternity?

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