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How to Engage with Culture

There has always been opposition to the moves of God.  The prophets experienced extreme persecution and Jesus Himself was rejected in the public and religious sphere.  Today attendance in church is dwindling and many people don’t pray or believe in God.  Recent surveys show 23% of the US adult population identifies as atheists or agnostics and 1 in 5 Americans who were raised as Christians now claim no religious affiliation at all.  Of late, Christians are viewed as political, judgmental, intolerant, weak, religious and angry.  Many younger people do not feel at home in our churches.  Some Christians claim they love Jesus yet love money, sex and self-fulfillment.  We have the best news in the world, but believers haven’t communicated it in a loving way over the years.  “If Christians are to be a light in a dark culture, we need to ensure we are not adding to the darkness.” In this atmosphere of cultural animosity, we are called to represent Christ.  “The message we have and the lives we lead ought to permeate society and be a beacon of light in the approaching darkness,” says Pastor Erwin.   

Thirty-six years ago, Pastor Erwin would never have imagined the White House would be arrayed in rainbow colors to celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriage. The floodgates have since opened and society -- and even churches -- are being called upon to accept, if not condone, people’s decisions to change their gender.  Meanwhile parents have to battle the lesbian/gay/bi-sexual/transgender/queer agenda which is being taught to grade school children.  “We have the privilege of giving hope and healing to a generation emotionally scarred in the wake of uninhibited sexual expression and nearly unlimited access to the dark web that reaches through computers and phones into the hearts and minds,” says Pastor Erwin.  But, believers are being shamed into silence.

Many excellent books have been written about the church and challenges of the future.  Pastor Erwin says his message is urgent and timely. In biblical times, God’s people had to live as minorities in the midst of a majority pagan culture in Babylon.  Solomon’s temple was totally destroyed, and the Jews had to survive among idolaters who had no regard for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  “Many of the biblical values upon which America was founded are no longer being allowed to shape our laws or our lives,” says Pastor Erwin.  The time is coming when the church will not be able to depend on the media, the courts, our universities or even evangelical churches to stand with us as the onslaught against Christianity comes from every direction.  “We have to learn to conduct ourselves as a minority in a majority post-Christian world,” says Pastor Erwin.  “We have to know how to engage the culture without becoming contaminated by it.”

In the Bible, God gave his people 5 instructions for living in a pagan culture in Jeremiah 29:4-7:

  1. Build houses and live in them.  Connect with your neighbors
  2. Take wives and have sons.  Only strong families can weather the cultural storms; families have future seed
  3. Get involved in city life.  Be good neighbors. Shovel the snow off your sidewalk and your neighbor’s too.
  4. Pray.  Pray for your neighbors and your cities.
  5. Remember God’s promises.  Be optimistic.  Never lose sight of God’s end game.

Pastor Erwin says there some of our evangelical churches are teaching a distorted gospel, but their congregations might not be aware of it.  The Gospel of: 1. Permissive Grace: unconditional love does not equal unconditional acceptance of one’s lifestyle; 2. Social Justice: we must always live radically like Christ, committing ourselves to the needs of others and seek opportunities to build bridges that lead others to eternal life; 3. New Age Spirituality: we may learn things about God when we experience the world, but only in Scriptures do we have a reliable guide to lead us to encounter God and salvation; 4. My Sexual Preference: churches don’t want to be targeted as intolerant, but we must get over our fear of being called bigots and make it clear that no Christian can truly follow Christ and engage in same-sex relationships or in gender assignment; 5. Interfaith Dialogue: the Church cannot accept interfaith dialogue with Muslims but must reach them for Christ.

Pastor Lutzer also deals with issues in The Church in Babylon, like technology, transgenderism, and immigration. He insists that the church must confront these issues with truth and love.

Mentioned in the Video



Guest Info


Award-winning author, his latest: The Church in Babylon, Moody, 2018

Pastor Emeritus, The Moody Church for 36 years, Chicago, IL

Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary

M.A, Philosophy, Loyola University

Honorary LL.D., Simon Greenleaf School of Law

Feature speaker on 3 radio programs heard on more than 1,000 outlets in the US and around the world

Wife, Rebecca

3 grown children

8 grandchildren


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