Our Culture Will Impact the Soundness of Our Christian Faith
To be “sound in the faith” is to embrace the truth of the gospel message without being distorted by false teaching and false practice. We see this in Titus 1:13-14, where Paul’s heart is that the Cretan believers would be “sound in the faith” and his explanation that this meant they would not be tripped up by “Jewish myths” or legalistic tendencies of their opponents (“commands of men who turn away from the truth”).
It is good to remember that there are many different things which can lead us into error and hurt the soundness of our faith in Christ. By recognizing how different factors might contribute to how we understand reality, we can pursue a soundness in our faith. Here’s some to be aware of:
- PLACE IN HISTORY: We live in 2018, and our place in history can contribute to a weakening of the soundness in our Faith. Modernity and Post-modernity is our climate, which can cause us to be suspicious of any kind of authority or metaphysical truth claim. We brought with a hyper-individualism, which hinders many from committing to be members of a local church or give of time or resources which might impugn personal autonomy or freedom. Along with this is our hyper-sexualized culture which makes porn common place; in this setting, sexual purity and a commitment to marriage between one man and one woman is seen as old-fashioned and dated or not important.
- NATIONAL BIASES: What country we live impacts how we view reality. Living in America, we are taught that America is the greatest nation to ever exist and we are the most important nation in the world. Granted, they are wonderful things about being American, but this nationalistic bias can hinder us from gospel-faithfulness if taken too far. We can forget that our ultimate allegiance is to Christ and the Kingdom of God (Phil 3:20), which will hinder our soundness in the faith.
- LOCAL/REGIONAL PREJUDICES: Local or regional prejudices also impact our soundness in the faith. I live in Naperville, which has the reputation for being SNOBBY. And I think there is a tendency toward pretentiousness here that we have to be aware of, along with an arrogance—we were voted one of the best places to live in all of America multiple times! There are also suburban ideologies in the air we breathe which lead us to place Comfort, Convenience, Career and Children above CHRIST. Another tendency is OVER-WORK. Many here work long hours (60-70 hours per week) and look down on those who don’t. Judging others in this way and seeing work as something I own is contrary to trusting in God and recognizing that our work is a gift from Him, not something to be idolized.
- UPBRINGING: Our families and upbringing influence us. What our parents value we tend to value. What they hate, we hate. Some of these things are good but others need to be corrected by Scripture, or else they will lead to a diseased soul, which is not sound in the faith.
The solution in all of this is surely being immersed in God’s Word, which sheds light on these things, and having fellowship with other believers, who can help us recognize blind spots, and sitting under God’s Word in preaching. Reading a diverse range of books can help us in this too see biases or prejudices we might be cognizant of.