Give them Christ, not your culture!
I am convinced that the single greatest need of the world is to hear the true gospel of Jesus Christ presented with clarity, simplicity, reason, and genuineness. I think the Apostle Paul thought along the same lines.
Come over into Macedonia, and help us! Such were the words of the unnamed man in the dream of the apostle Paul in Acts 16. While we follow the story in Acts, we see that the help that the Apostle Paul brought was particularly fitting to their need. What would this well-educated Roman Jew do to help? Would he wax eloquent of his knowledge of the Old Testament law that he learned while a Pharisee? What would he impart that could most help them? Would he impress them with his high academic achievements? Maybe he could share some superior aspect of his culture to revolutionize their lives and improve their overall well-being? Spoiler alert, none of such took place. Paul knew the true need of people. He didn’t try and give them his culture. Instead, He preached Christ! Specifically, the text says, he preached the gospel unto them. His concern was not about imposing his own culture upon them, his concern was much deeper. He gave them what was most necessary for life. He gave them the gospel. How often this is so confused by others. The purpose of evangelism is not to impose one’s culture upon another, but rather to impart the lifesaving-gospel to the world! The world doesn’t need my culture, the world needs Christ.
Do some cultures need to change? I think so. In particular cultures, women are treated as second-rate and the value of human life is diminished. I think those cultures need to change! It would be immoral to pretend that all cultures of the world are morally acceptable in respect to their geopolitical, historical or religious background. Frankly, some cultures are flat-out immoral! But what is the best way to change these aspects of culture that may be deemed as immoral or wrong? How can I best change the world? A follower of Christ can best change the world by giving the occupants what they need the most, the gospel.
Why even bother to give the gospel to other people? Why go to some foreign mission field and declare the gospel? Why tell anyone whether it be here in the USA or abroad of their need of Christ? It’s a pretty basic answer and Paul speaks to this in Romans 10, when he asks the following questions; How will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher? It is a pretty simple conclusion to the question that Paul asks. The answer is that they cannot call, believe, hear without someone to tell them. The world cannot believe in a gospel that has never been told to them. If you think that the unconverted world will just magically appear in heaven at the conclusion of their time on earth and it will be revealed that all roads ultimately led to heaven then you are going to be in for a terrible surprise. All religions are not the same. They are fundamentally different and because of their individual claim to exclusivity, they end up diametrically opposing one another. This is not my opinion, these are just the facts. Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Christianity are not the same.
The purpose of evangelism is not about spreading a culture, but rather about sharing Christ. It is inevitable, however, that Christ will change the culture. Cultures are made up of people who practice them and a culture with nobody practicing it is no culture at all. People’s way of life will inevitably change when they believe the gospel. It is the will of God that the followers of Christ be conformed to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 2:10) In other words, the gospel transforms lives and cultures! So, if cultural reform is in your scope of life-goals, then you should change that goal to preaching the gospel because you will do a better job. The gospel changes people because Christ changes people! When we focus on externalities to the problem we only treat the symptom and it ends up just putting a bandage over the real issue. Give people the gospel and let Christ radically transform their lives and their culture too!