Cultural Christianity is the reduction of Christianity to an identity.
Cultural Christians share language, conventions, and practices around Christian themes but do not recognize the deity of Christ nor submit to His authority as evidenced by their dissimilarity to His Biblical account.
The key characteristic of Cultural Christianity is the preeminence of the group. Cultural Christians prioritize membership to the group above submission to Christ.
Being a Cultural Christian does not require regeneration, belief or any lifestyle change besides participating in group-sanctioned activities that signal their affiliation. Membership is granted on the basis of conformity to the group.
Cultural Christianity adds members largely through cultural assimilation: the often unconscious adoption of the positions and behaviors of others whose acceptance is desired. It seeks cultural belonging and influence, not the Kingdom.
What I hear more than anything as I encounter people who consider themselves “unchurched”, is a reluctance to come to worship “until I get my life right.” Surprisingly, there is an element of this that is good theology and demonstrates a knowledge of God that many “churched” folks have lost as a result of their religion: God is holy and I must be holy or in “right standing” to enter into His presence. That’s truth.
But, here’s the good news (the gospel): God loves you so much and is so committed to being with you, that even before the beginning, He architected an ingenious Way for you to be in His presence without compromising His holiness. He provided a Savior able to pay the debt required for our sin and thereby making us able to be in right-standing (righteous). Not only that, but when we believe Christ, we’re given a new heart, HIS heart, a seed that grows unto a new spiritual man and empowers us to put to death our former, godless appetites. And, as we undergo the process of being re-made to look more and more like a Son of the Father (sanctification), we enter the presence of God by the blood (the work and person) of Christ. As a result, when God sees you, He sees His Son in whom He is well pleased so that you can dwell boldly in His presence. Hallelujah! #TheDoorOfTheChurchIsOpen
In loving memory of the greatest teacher of grace I’ve ever known, my mentor and friend, Dr. Gregory Wilson Jones.