I write because I believe one voice can change a culture and I believe the culture of the church must change if she is to become relevant in the world’s culture she has been called to influence. Influence is a powerful tool and it is judged by impact. When one object collides with another object the impact of that collision produces change. I see the culture of our world impacting the church far more than I see the church impacting the culture. Initially, this impact is not necessarily a visible thing, although I know many so- called Christian experts who bemoan and compare the music, clothes, language, and social morays of the church and world as having little noticeable difference, and thus the problem. Their arguments and condemnation reveal a sad system of faith that teaches one’s behavior is more important than one’s belief. This behavior modification belief (a teaching of psychology) is not necessarily biblical, because behavior alone is not enough to impact culture. Behavior is learned, but beliefs are lived out.
I would argue the more dangerous influence is internal—contained in one’s world view, belief system, and core values of the heart. The reason our activities stink is our internal guidance system stinks—it’s called stinking thinking. We are living a form of Christianity that began on the outside and has never soaked its way into our hearts—a form which denies the very power of the Holy Spirit. We have become nothing more than religious chameleons—cold-blooded lizards whose colors change with the circumstances. We have become social Christians, who crawl out of the shadows to shine of Sundays, but live like hell the remaining six days of the week.
Real change will not come individually, corporately, or nationally, until the life of Christ is internalized and my (and yours) life becomes His life. In that moment when I disappear, He will appear and radically alter the way I think, and thus act. It’s not the clothes, or the music, or the language, or even the morals that make a person or a nation Christian—it’s Christ, living larger in my life than I allow me to live. The change begins in the heart and works its way out—not vice-versa.
Change will come when we begin to live out not what we claim to believe, but rather what Jesus taught, which is spelled out on the pages of the Bible. Our problem right now is we are living out what we really do believe, or otherwise we would not live this way. Our beliefs determine our impact. If they differ little from the culture, or are lived out in secret—has our heart really been changed?