The distinct cultures of the world are the current cause of much controversy. It is the cultural clashes that divide people into competing and warring factions. The exclusivity of a particular culture, in their eyes, becomes the standard and measure of right and wrong. We changed the name of our church to Cross Culture Church over five years ago realizing that there are distinctions among culture. There are things to be celebrated within every culture, but there are things within every culture in need of change. It is easy to accentuate the positive attributes of a culture, but the majority of people are blinded to the defects. We need an established standard and objective criticism for those invisible defects to be seen. The first lesson to be learned is that no culture is to be deified. Christ did not come into the world to affirm culture but to transform culture. He introduced to humanity the culture of heaven. The established order of heaven came down to earth in the Person of Jesus Christ and lived among us! This invasion of spiritual reality into a sinful and wayward environment created turbulence rather than peace. The world’s reality was defined by their culture, even religious traditions, which were defied by the physical presence of Truth. Jesus demonstrated truth and the power of the Father of Truth confirmed His message with signs following. The power of heaven accompanies the order of heaven.
The customary beliefs, established systems, material traits of a racial, religious, or social group are the characteristic features of everyday living. They are shared among people in a particular place and time. Even though it may be accepted as conventional wisdom, the world’s philosophy falls short of the established standard of God. Culture is modified for the sake of expedience. Racism is a belief and practice that one people group is superior to another people group. It is perpetuated by expediency. The lesser is used to fulfill the passions, desires, and often greed of the greater. If the lesser loses its value as chattel or tools in the hands of the greater, there is no need for the lesser to continue existing. There is the culture of the slave and the culture of the slave master that can become deeply embedded into the psyche of cultures. The mindset remains even after the laws have prohibited the practice of slavery. The set standard of superiority and inferiority no longer needs supportive laws to survive. Children are born into a world where unspoken rules are established and set in motion.
One passage of Scripture, among many others, that gives a clear expression of God’s intent is in the Book of John 12:32-33. Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die.”
Death is the equalizer that neutralizes egoism and false images of superiority and inferiority. The death of Christ, after He demonstrated the standard, revealed the truest disposition of fallen humanity. Perfection had to die on behalf of imperfections so that the flaws within every culture can be fully realized. All must fully identify with Christ’s death so that none will attempt to justify what was formerly believed concerning his or her own life. Our ethnicity is insufficient to save us as an individual or as a people-group. Since we all have a common need, we exalt a common Savior. To lift Him up is to allow the work of the Cross to work deeply within our heart and soul. It is the culture of the cross that will become the attraction to tear down the dividing wall of partition and collectively draw people together as one, to worship the only One deserving of our full devotion.