“Christian” Religion and Culture

Having lived in a missionary family, I can provide first hand testimony to the typical actions of the missionaries from America in the 20th century. There are books written of missionaries from other countries and denominations which give similar testimonies. One such book is "The Small Woman" by Alan Burgess, ISBN 1-56849-184-0.
 
The typical work of an American missionary is to westernize the culture of the people they are sent to. This culture change is not done in addition to preaching the gospel, the western culture is held forth as the gospel. This issue was often the topic of conversation at the dinner table. The western (American) culture is viewed as how one is to live the gospel. It is sad that this belief has resulted in the rejection of the gospel in so many countries. Christianity is held in great disrepute in the world because of the attempt to denigrate and change the culture of people in other countries.
 
American Christian religious organizations typically view their culture and country as a Christian culture and country. This religious culture, its norms and ethical values are viewed as the manner in which one is to live if one is a Christian. The government is viewed as originally established as a Christian government, founded on Christian principles. There is the belief that it exists to promote and protect the Christian religious organizations and culture. This is one reason why the religious public is so obsessed with politics and the protection of religious behavior in the public spaces of this country. Many religious Christians fear that if the government does not behave according to their religious cultural norms and ethics, that their God will punish the country.
 
Christianity, as established and delivered to us in the 1st century, began as a strictly Hebrew sect. It rapidly spread to the Gentiles of that day. It is noteworthy that the beliefs of this new sect were incorporated into the Gentile culture, which did not change significantly. In both the Hebrew culture and the Gentile culture, this sect was virtually invisible. It did not establish any type of institution, leadership hierarchy, or any other trappings typical of religion. This is the genius of the mature body of Christ that was established in the first century.
 
As is typical of most Christian religions, the Bible is used to legitimize their organizations, policies, procedures and beliefs. However, the vast majority of these beliefs cannot be justified by the Bible. So it is with the Christian religious culture.
 
As it is well documented in Acts 15, there was a push by some Hebrews to force the Gentile believers to become observant Jews. There was an insistence that these Gentiles change their culture. This issue was dealt with, once and for all, by all the Hebrew believers assembled in Jerusalem. The decision was made that the Gentiles would not be required to change their culture. A change in culture would not be Godly or scriptural. A letter was written to the Gentiles to comfort and strengthen them in this regard.
 
Acts 15:23 – 29 (NET Bible)
15:23 From the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greetings! 15:24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said, 15:25 we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person. 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell. 

Note the language and what it does not say. It does not use the word "obligation" or "salvation". It does not threaten them with hellfire or anything of the sort.

Paul follows through with this decision in his work, declaring by revelation that in Christ there is no race, gender or social status. These things have no spiritual significance! This does not mean that we ignore our Hebrew roots. In Romans Paul is careful to teach that the "root" (the Hebrews) support the "branches" (the Gentiles). We must be cognizant of our Hebrew roots if we are to begin to understand our new relationship with God and each other.
 
The American Christian religious culture is NOT and has NEVER been a Christian culture. The Christian religious beliefs and organizations have more in common with the ancient Greek and Roman pagans than they do with the believers of the first century!
 
We never had a Christian government. Our government has no obligation to protect or promote religious expression in public. It was never formed for that purpose. Just as it would be inappropriate for our government to enforce sharia law, it is inappropriate for it to enforce the laws and obligations of any other religion; that includes any current "Christian" religion.
 
As it has always done, religion continues to be one of the vicious, negative influences in the world, stirring up trouble where there is none. 
 
Christianity was never meant to be a religion; in truth it is a faith without religion. This faith is to set people free from fear so that they can live as never before; they can love as never before. 
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

 

 

 

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