The Problem with "Culture War"
The nature of the relationship between Christians and their surrounding culture has been the subject of debate for millennia. One phrase often tossed about in regard to this issue is that we are to be “in the world, but not of it.”
This is a Biblical concept, no fault there. John 17 speaks specifically to this idea that we are not of this world. We are part of a divine kingdom, one that will not perish like earthly kingdoms.
This means our priorities should be driven by our citizenry of the kingdom of God. While we have no passport to identify it, our first priority should be the kingdom of God and our fellow citizens of that kingdom — even if their earthly citizenship is on the other side of the world.
You have a deeper kinship to that fellow Christian in Russia than you do your unbelieving neighbor. Proximity doesn’t matter in the kingdom of God, we have a deeper and more real connection.
There’s something, though, the phrase “in the world, but not of it” misses. It’s not that it’s wrong, just incomplete.
We’re in the world, but not of it. But we also exist for it.
The kingdom of God is not one with strong borders. We don’t fight to keep people out.
We’re not at war with people outside our walls, we exist to bring them in.
That’s one thing I hate about the “culture war” phraseology. Our job is not to win a war against the culture. Our job is to do the work Christ has given us in the war against evil, transforming the culture to establish God’s kingdom here as it is in Heaven.
Our primary citizenry is in the kingdom of God. We’re are in the world, but not of it. But we also exist for it. We’re not at war with the people around us. It’s our job to welcome them in.