As the gospel circles the globe, Christians encounter different cultures and practices, many of which pertain to family and social relationships. One of the great questions for Christian missionaries regards how they should relate to various cultural norms about many things, including family relationships they might personally find uncomfortable.
Read Acts 10:1-28, Acts 10:34-35. What can we learn here about our need to overcome our own barriers and prejudices when dealing with other cultures?
Christ’s death was for the sins of every human being, everywhere. Many people simply do not know this great truth yet. To bring this news with an invitation to respond is the evangelistic mission of Christians. Because God shows no partiality, Christians are called to treat everyone with respect and integrity, giving them a chance to embrace the good news that is for them, as well.
What conclusions did early Christian missionaries reach regarding the presentation of the gospel to other cultures? What principle can we draw from these texts? Acts 15:19-20, Acts 15:28-29; 1 Cor. 2:2; 1 Thess. 5:21-22.
Though every culture mirrors the fallen condition of the people within it, cultures may also have beliefs that are compatible with Scripture, even useful to the cause of the gospel. The value placed upon close relationships in family and community in many parts of the world is an example. Christians can uphold and strengthen that which is good and in keeping with biblical principles.
At the same time, God’s truth must not be compromised. Church history sadly shows that compromise and accommodation to cultures has yielded a patchwork of pseudo-Christian beliefs posing as authentic Christianity. Satan claims to be the god of this world and happily spreads confusion, but Jesus has redeemed this world, and His Spirit guides His followers into all truth (John 16:13).
|How much of your faith is shaped by your culture, and how much is biblical truth? How can you learn to discern between the two? Be prepared to discuss your answer in class.|