You must not follow the statutes of the nations I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and I abhorred them. – Leviticus 20:23
When I first moved to Africa back in 2009 (and for most of my time there), I spent a lot of time trying to understand the culture and customs of the various peoples. I learned how to eat, how to greet, and how to not offend with your feet (sorry, that is the preacher in me) … among many other things. I even learned how to live like a pagan, though I confess I did my best not to apply what I had learned. I figured I had enough trouble with that growing up in America.
God commanded the Israelites not to follow the statutes (or practices) of the Canaanites once they entered the Promised Land. He was obviously concerned about their purity. As Christ-followers, we must also be careful not to follow the statutes (or practices) of the people among whom we live. Yet, it seems to me that many of our churches in America are more influenced by the world than the world is influenced by them. Instead of a culture that reveals the presence of God’s people, it sometimes appears we have a church that reveals the presence of a worldly, pagan culture. And of course, if this be true, then why are we surprised by our inability to truly transform our community for Christ?
Popular: of or relating to the general public.
Christian: of and relating to Christ Jesus.
What is popularly called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism. – Desiderius Erasmus
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
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