How Much is God and How Much is Our Culture?


These days I have been meditating on a lot of things, including my journey through many local churches from Florida, to North Carolina, to Alaska and now Arizona. I have been in pentecostal and baptist churches, some had predominately White congregations and others had predominately Black congregations. I have been a part of multicultural and bilingual churches with a mostly Hispanic congregation as well as non-denominational churches. It fascinates me that in every church, the culture, for the most part, dictates the style of the Sunday Service.  

            What intrigues me is that you take a traditional white man who grew up in a white Baptist church and you put him in a black Pentecostal church, and he will come out of there saying that it was all emotionalism. Likewise, you take a black man and put him in an all-white church, and he may find it so boring that he may fall asleep. What is this? If God is truly in it, how can God be boring? 

I believe that what we are witnessing is the fulfilment of 2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (NIV) We adapt to a particular system, to a particular style, to a particular way of preaching and teaching and to a particular order of service. I wonder, how much of what we see on Sundays is God and, how much is just our culture?

One thing I know, when the shekinah glory of God take over our Constantine-made services, the preachers will no longer be able to control the service, it will be God doing so himself. If it happened in the Old Testament, how much more in the New?

Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. The priests could not enter into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 (NASB)

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