Oct 30, 2009

Changing the Culture

I used to love Greek mythology as a child. The imagination that went into these stories of different gods and how they controlled our world was fascinating to me. I didn't believe any of the tales and had no idea that anyone else did either. But Greek mythology was actually a part of the religious practice in ancient Greece. The cult and ritual practices in the worship of these gods was very real and prevalent in the land. It was a regular part of their culture.

Early Greek religion was a blend of the Achaean, Dorian, Minoan, Egyptian and the Asian cultures, and came about as a result of the mingling of these cultures. Each city was under the protection of one particular god, who was worshiped with unique emphasis in that city. Athena is the goddess of Athens, Artemis is the god of Sparta, Aphrodite was worshiped at Corinth, Apollo worshiped at Delphi and Delos, and Zeus, the king of gods, was worshiped with special reverence at Olympia.

Blood sacrifices of animals such as oxen, sheep, horses, swine, dogs, birds, fish, fowl etc were held in the temples of the gods. During sacrifices, the people offered the blood, bones and hides of the slaughter animal to the god, and the remaining portions were used up as food for themselves.

Paul traveled through Greece with Silas and after some trouble with the Jews for preaching the gospel, he was sent to Athens to wait for Silas and Timothy. (Acts 17 )

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. Acts 17:16

Paul was always looking for an opportunity to present the gospel in a way that was relevant to the person or people he was speaking with. In this case he chose the culture's dedication to religion.

"For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." Acts 17:23

Paul used that as his opening remark to tell the people about the salvation that comes from Christ. He didn't join in their customs and practices, but rather, he pulled something out from it. He wasn't trying to add another god to their extensive collection of gods. What he was trying to do was change the culture and it's practices. He was introducing the Unknown God, our Savior Jesus Christ, to the people with the full intent of displacing all other gods, beliefs, and religious practices in the culture. I like the way Alistair Begg stated it in a recent message on Acts 17. "Becoming a Christian involves a radical transformation and a break from all non-Christian habits. Becoming a Christian does not mean simply adding a Jesus package to a lifestyle of our own choosing."

With the onset of Christianity, the Greek religion slowly became extinct. This happened because the believers turned away from the practices of the culture and taught new believers to do the same. Do we, as followers of Jesus Christ, do that in this culture? Do we try to displace any evil that sets itself up against Jesus, or do we accept it, tolerate it, and even embrace it while we set up our belief system right next to it?

"...and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. ...for they will turn your sons away from following me...This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession." Deuteronomy 7:2,4-6


"A girl needs to be so lost in God, that the guy is going to have to seek HIM to find her!" ...Maya Angelou


RCUBEs said...

We are new creations in the Lord and as we live this new life of freedom, we must remember that we represent Christ in the things we do, say or even think. Just like how Paul became obedient, we must do so. I love the way you ended this post from that particular verse from Deuteronomy. You're on fire sis! God bless. Have a great weekend.

Jackie said...

Great post Edie!

We are to be a people of no compromise! Clothed in His love but firmly planted in Him and His principles!

Thanks for sharing!

Sweet Blessings!

Raye Ann said...

This is a subject that I have been dwelling on a lot lately. Just what does it mean for me to live 1 Peter 2:11 "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." Just what is it that makes me separate from the world in a way that others can see it?

I am not talking about just the way I dress. The way I act, the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I interact with others, etc. that says that she is different in a way that they want to be different too.

Romans 2:15 "They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them". Our works, our actions are a reflection of our faith. The the law, Torah, instructions (Gen to Rev) can be seen by all of those around us. It is like the old saying "Sometimes we are the only Bible that some will ever read!" That is a humbling thought.

I love looking at this question from another perspective and coming to the same conclusion. Be it that conclusion is filled with questions that we each must search our own soul for and make the changes necessary for each of us to reach that place that God desires us to be.

Raye Ann

Anonymous said...

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEdie, Hey hey :) How are you?
Sorry havent been by, was sick 2 weeks with a sinus infection.
Ok I looooooooooooooove the colors in here,
lol I always try to change my blog up lol but always find myself going back to somehting with brown lol.Hmmmm dont think there is any hope for me lol. Any suggestions.

Hope yall have a Great weekend :)

Huggs Renee & Jacob

2Thinks said...

Your teaching posts of late are excellent! There is too much tolerance now, as there was then and too little belief in absolute truth or should I say Truth!

Of course those dummies didn't destroy them totally, but left some, which, of course, became their undoing. But people are very slow to learn- even I.

Thank God for the Savior, my rescuer, The Way- my Shepherd and for these ears to hear and eyes to see. I'm sorry about not sharing the thing- you're right, it's wrong to mention it and not share it. I just didn't have enough time to put it together, as I do not now either. Maybe tomorrow....

I love your comments!

Kathy S. said...

Amen again, and my post echoes this one, or could be tagged on...Love how God works! And I love you and your love of the Lord and His word!

Debra said...

There are places to still hear the truth. This is one of them.
Love ya,

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

When we teach the truth, we are bringing joy to the Lord! Thank you for your excellent posts here - these things need to be heard and heeded!!

LisaShaw said...

Keep writing Edie! Praise the Lord!

Daveda said...

Great post Edie! May Christ replace any and everything in our hearts and our culture that tries to be or do what only He can.

Anonymous said...

Terrific post... really made me think.

Irritable Mother said...

Edie, I so appreciate the topics you've been tackling lately. You are right on, and I love it! (And you! *grin*)

Sue J. said...

Aphrodite was worshiped at Corinth. No wonder we have Paul's amazing letters in Corinthians focusing on True Love!

For as marvelous as the Greeks were in the areas of math, science, architecture, etc., to have substituted worshiping a god of wisdom for the True God limited them.

Culture change may not happen in a day, with one event, one election, one war, one....whatever! But, that doesn't mean that--with God--it's not possible! Prayers for His strength and His wisdom as we see opportunities to effect change.

Talkin' Texan said...

Amen! I think I hate the modern term of "tolerance" just about as much as the "what you deserve" bandwagon.
And the fact that the church often embraces both makes me crazy.
Thanks for posting your passions.