Author and speaker John Stonestreet challenged and encouraged Christians to engage today’s culture with clarity, conviction, confidence and courage without compromising biblical principles during a pair of keynote addresses at the 2019 N.C. Baptist Disciple-Making Conference.
“We’ve got to address the culture in which we live, and we’ve got to do it with clarity and we’ve got to do it with understanding,” said John Stonestreet Feb. 26. “It’s not an option.”
Stonestreet, who serves as president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in Colorado Springs, Colo., told conference attendees that engaging the culture is part of discipleship and is every believer’s responsibility.
“We’ve got to address the culture in which we live, and we’ve got to do it with clarity and we’ve got to do it with understanding,” Stonestreet said. “It’s not an option.”
The daylong conference drew approximately 700 attendees to Green Street Baptist Church in High Point on Feb. 26. Attendees included pastors, church staff members, ministry leaders and congregants from churches across North Carolina.
The event included main sessions with Stonestreet, as well as a variety of breakout sessions with other ministry leaders and church practitioners.
In a cultural landscape that’s becoming increasingly antagonistic to biblical truth, Stonestreet warned dismissing culture as evil and trying to retreat from it.
“The Bible doesn’t teach that the world is a bad place,” Stonestreet said. “The Bible teaches that the world is a good place that has fallen thoroughly.”
Stonestreet said shifting cultural values have placed increasing pressure on Christians and the church to compromise their historic biblical convictions, often pitting God’s truth and God’s love in opposition to one another.
“What we’re told is, ‘If you love your neighbor, you’ve got to change your mind about what God says,’” Stonestreet said. “Or, ‘If you love God and want to be faithful to what God says, then you can’t be loving to your neighbor.’
“We cannot understand our faith as if God’s morality and God’s gospel are somehow in conflict with one another.”
Stonestreet said scripture informs us that truth and love are revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, who calls Christians to be ministers of reconciliation.
“Reconciled ones are called to be reconcilers,” Stonestreet said. “And it’s to be done in the context of this cultural moment where God has placed us.”
Stonestreet shared four truths for believers to remember and cling to as they seek to engage the culture around them. They are that Christ is risen, Christ is Lord, Christ is making all things new and God has sovereignly determined that we would live at this precise moment in history.
It’s no accident that we are living in this cultural moment, Stonestreet said, noting that the apostle Paul tells us in Acts 17 that God determines the exact times that people would live and the boundaries of their dwelling places.
“God wanted us to live in this time and in this place and not in another time and another place,” Stonestreet said. “God actually gives us our cultural moment and does not put us in another cultural moment.
Stonestreet also shared four questions that Christians and churches can ask about culture as they seek to engage it. They are:
What’s good that we can promote, celebrate and preserve?
What’s missing that we can contribute?
What’s evil that we can stop?
What’s broken that we can restore?
Stonestreet told attendees that God wants to use them to engage culture and encouraged them to live out their faith wherever God has placed and called them.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Video recordings of Stonestreet’s addresses from the conference are available at vimeo.com/channels/disciples.)