trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Culture as Educator

And a powerful one at that.

Educating for Godly Policy (2)

“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6.9

All things for good
Every aspect of life in ancient Israel was intended to reflect the goodness and justice of God. As all creation, in the beginning, was “very good,” so God intended His Law for good (Rom. 7.12), to enable His people to realize a measure of restoration to this original condition, and to flourish within it. The Law did not save them, but, having been saved, obeying the Law enabled them to know the blessings of God’s promise.

The fact that the Law of God today remains as the “core curriculum” of the Spirit’s instruction of the faithful (Ezek. 36.26, 27) should encourage us to a higher view of the Law and greater dependence on it for the revival, renewal, and awakening we seek.

The idea of writing the Law of God on the doorposts of homes and the gates of communities was intended as a symbol and meant to convey the idea that every aspect of life at home and in the community should be intended for good, as defined within the shelter and according to the direction of God’s Law. This would have included all aspects of cultural life as well.

We see this emphasis on the educating power of culture in several ways. For example, God was insistent that His people should not tolerate in their midst tokens or representations of anything in pagan culture which would have been likely to draw them away from devotion to Him and His covenant. All pagan religious artifacts were to be destroyed, and all pagan religious practices were proscribed. Certain aspects of pagan culture—farms, fields, homes, cities, and so forth—could be put to use by God’s people. However, over all these the Law of God was to stand as guardian and guide, so that no destructive pagan influences would be able to find a way into the economy of God’s people. Pagan ways—laws, protocols, conventions, and the like—were to be avoided and expunged.

The currents of current culture
Any effort to educate children in the ways of the Lord will struggle to make progress while the currents of culture flow against such an aim. Contemporary culture today is materialistic, commercial, sensual, and self-serving in the extreme. Public policy has increasingly taken an “anything goes” attitude toward aspects of cultural expression, making room for forms of culture which are abominations in the sight of God.

The simple fact is that culture is a powerful educator, especially of the young. Parents and community leaders, therefore, must do whatever they can to ensure that the culture to which their children are exposed offers instruction which complements, rather than contravenes or undermines, their own efforts to help children learn to take their place in an economy based not merely on self-aggrandizement and pleasure, but on justice and neighbor-love. At the same time, parents and believing communities must encourage the making and use of culture which reflects the goodness, beauty, and truth of God—writing the words of the Law, as it were, on all aspects of cultural life.

Should certain forms of cultural expression be outlawed? The very idea seems to many like an infringement on freedom of speech. Nevertheless, in our society today, as debased as it has become in many ways, people yet realize the power of culture to affect young minds, and they have erected laws to guard against culture’s educative power. This is why films and video games are rated, certain consumer goods (e.g., alcoholic beverages) are forbidden to children, and even certain forms of speech are not permitted on the public airwaves.

However, this cultural guardianship and guidance—a function, in certain ways, of government acting for good—has been steadily eroded by the sensual and material interests of our day, and the detrimental consequences, especially on young people, are visible on every hand.

Culture within the limits of law
Subjecting culture to the control of law is not a novel idea. It may be threatening, but only to those whose cultural preferences lie beyond what the law allows. If such people cannot change the law, in a democratic society such as ours, they will simply have to keep their cultural expressions and indulgences within the limits of what the law allows, or risk the sanctions of the law if they refuse.

In the field of education, Christians must augur for public policies that acknowledge the educating power of culture and which help to keep culture from becoming a corrupting influence in the lives of citizens. School curricula that minimize the arts, relativize ethics, promote a materialistic orientation to life, seek to undermine the home, and neglect to inculcate critical thinking skills are not helping students to gain the ennobling benefits of certain forms of culture or to identify and avoid culture that debases the soul.

Forms of pop culture which glorify violence, portray sex as recreation, promote mere self-indulgence (think: advertising), and encourage an overall attitude of incivility should be subjected to the good intentions and guidelines of the Law of God, at the very least, within the households of faithful parents. Shaping public policy in such areas is no doubt a long-term proposition; enforcing God’s Law and the love for God and neighbor it prescribes can begin today.

By thus writing the Law of God on the doorposts of their hearts, minds, and homes and by working to have God’s Law shape the culture of their communities, believers make a stand for righteousness and wholesomeness amid the cultural desertification which is dehumanizing our society and endangering our lives.

For reflection
1. How has culture acted as an educator in your life?

2. Is it possible to judge with righteous judgment between culture that is good and wholesome and culture that is dangerous and demeaning? Explain.

3. What are some things churches might do to encourage children and young people in making God-honoring culture?

Next step—Transformation: Examine your own use of culture. Are any cultural educators at work in your life that should not be there? What are some aspects of culture that are contributing to your becoming more holy and righteous and good?

Our bookstore offers three resources to help you grow in knowledge of, love for, and obedience to the Law of God. Please check out The Law of God (click here), The Ground for Christian Ethics (click here), and A Kingdom Catechism (click here). The Law of God arranges all the statutes and commandments of God under one or another of the Ten Commandments. It can be a useful guide for reflection as part of your daily time with the Lord. For The Ground for Christian Ethics and A Kingdom Catechism, read the table of contents and listen to the audio excerpts to learn more about each book.

Support for
ReVision comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.