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A Biblical Model of Culture Michael K. Wilson February 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "A Biblical Model of Culture Michael K. Wilson February 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Biblical Model of Culture Michael K. Wilson February 2012

2 Importance of the Culture Concept “The 20 th century was the century of ideology… The 21 st century is at least beginning as the century of culture” (Samuel Huntington)

3 Does Culture Distinguish Humans from Animals?

4 Elements of the Biblical Model  Bible transcends cultural particularity  Bible marginalises cultural particularity  Bible recognises people as cultural beings  Bible affirms cultural diversity  Individual constitution is universal  Social relations are culturally particular  Gospel contravened by insensitivity to cultural particularity  Cultural particularity is essential, though secondary, to human identity

5 Key dimensions of biblical anthropology  People created in God’s image  People are fallen and sinful  People in Christ are redeemed and transformed  The people of God are the new humanity

6 Bible marginalises cultural particularity 1  Cultural particularity is irrelevant to inclusion in the new humanity  Rom 4:9-12, 16-18; cf. 3:29-30  Eph 2:11, 14-18 ALL MAY ENTER JEW or GENTILE

7 Bible marginalises cultural particularity 2  Bible is disinterested in cultural differences between foreigners and:  The patriarchs  Joseph and his brothers  Moses and Israelites  Israel in the land  Israel in exile  The exaltation of Greek culture is repudiated (Acts 17)

8 Bible recognises people as cultural beings 1  Almost all human thought and behaviour is culturally shaped

9 Bible recognises people as cultural beings 2  Culture is not neutral, but biased  Note traditions of Gen 4:  Tent-living  Raising livestock  Playing musical instruments  Forging metal tools  FOMENTING VIOLENCE

10 Bible recognises people as cultural beings 3  Cultural transmission is integral to righteous living:  Teaching of Torah (Deut 4:10)Deut 4:10  Teaching of Gospel (Mt 28:20a; Col 2:6-7)Mt 28:20a Col 2:6-7

11 Deuteronomy 4:10  Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

12 Matthew 28:19-20  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

13 Colossians 2:6-7  So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

14 Bible affirms cultural diversity 1  Do you want to live in an homogenised world?


16 Bible affirms cultural diversity 2  Table of Nations (Genesis 10): “Harmony among peoples was not primarily centered in the sameness of language, geography, and culture, but in the innate dignity of human beings as the imago Dei under the blessing of God” (Matthews)

17 Bible affirms cultural diversity 3  Tower of Babel (Genesis 11):  Ensuing linguistic and cultural diversity curbs hubris AND effects God’s creation purpose

18 Individual Constitution is Universal  People with nephesh, heart, feelings, reason and bodily parts

19 Social Relations are Culturally Particular

20 Gospel Contravened by Insensitivity to Cultural Particularity  See Romans 14

21 Cultural Particularity is Essential but Secondary to Human Identity

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