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The intersection of culture and faith

Roma Downey, actress and co-producer of 'The Bible' series, speaks at the 22nd Annual Movieguide Awards, Feb. 7, 2014.
Roma Downey, actress and co-producer of "The Bible" series, speaks at the 22nd Annual Movieguide Awards, Feb. 7, 2014. | (Photo: Movieguide)

“Don’t rock the boat.” “Be seen, not heard.” Do you agree or disagree in regard to sharing your Christian beliefs and speaking up for our faith?

Keith and I recently returned from Washington D.C. where we attended the International Culture Shapers Summit. Leaders in business, government, media, arts and entertainment, family, education, and religion addressed our group of 350 who gathered from eight nations and across the United States.  Tony Perkins, Steve Green, Roma Downey, Os Hillman, Lance Wallnau, Del Tackett, A.R. Bernard, Ken Blackwell, Hugh Hewitt, and James Kramer were but the tip of the 50 top culture leaders who spoke. Their position? Christians are to influence our world for Christ. Christ meant it when He taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come on earth…” (Matthew 6:10)

What If Christians Acted

Acknowledging that our culture is shaped by whoever is at the top of the spheres of influence in business, government, media, arts and entertainment, family, education, and religion, the summit leaders analyzed and assessed the state of affairs in our nation. They presented the fact that Christians are the single largest social demographic on the planet and asked, “What if we operated like it?”

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use Words if Necessary.

Culture shapers take Jesus’s final words in Matthew 28:19-20, His Great Commission, to heart; that we are to make disciples. Jesus said we are to disciple all the nations of the world. Yet, many of us are silent out of fear of what family, friends, denominations, or politicians will say. The world tells us to live and let be; that to teach Christ’s teachings is hate speech. Rather than Christians obeying Jesus and proclaiming His words, too often many adopt a lifestyle based on a false quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:  “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” St. Francis never said those words. Glenn T. Stanton, in The Gospel Coalition article, “FactChecker: Misquoting Francis of Assisi,” writes, “Our good Francis never said such a thing. None of his disciples, early or later biographers have these words coming from his mouth. It doesn't show up in any of his writings.” Yet, how many Christians live by a false quote  rather than a divine one; that we are to be Christ’s witnesses? (Acts 1:8)

Words to Live By

Our nation and world are more connected now than at any other time. The opportunity for us to speak and teach is at an all time high whether we send an encouraging Bible verse through an email or share a Christian devotional on social media. But the enemy is a silencer. Jesus said Christianity is for all the nations. The enemy says keep your religion to yourself. Jesus says the truth sets people free. It’s no wonder Satan doesn’t want Christians to open their mouths.

What Is the Christian Teaching

What is the Christian message? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Grace. Hope.

What is the world’s teaching? Immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. (Galatians 5:19-21).

Why would Jesus not want us to speak up? The fact is, He does. 

The Easter Message

It was never Christ’s intention that Christians be silent, but rather that we influence nations and yes, religions. To gasp at the idea is to ignore the gospel of grace and the good news we have to share - that salvation is by faith in Jesus; not good works.  Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus never said we are to be closed mouthed. Jesus Christ told His disciples to be culture changers. Jesus told them the Holy Spirit would give them words. “When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12

Jesus told Christians they would be His witnesses. Witnesses speak. Jesus told Christians to teach the world. Teachers use words. 

A false “niceness” among Christians being promoted is that we are to live and let live, Yet, while we sit quietly with folded hands praying, “Lord, Jesus, come,” unbelievers are boldly advancing their agenda on our world. We live in a day of deception where too many choose the convenience of a mistaken quote over the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ’s commission.

Debbie Taylor Williams is the founder of P.R.A.Y. with Passion Across the Nation Conference. She is in demand as a Bible teacher/lecturer across the nation and author of several books including “Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion” and “Prayers of My Heart” prayer journal; is a faith columnist, and a daily contributor to Bible Gateway BGB2. Listen to her 365 Days of Praise Beyond Ourselves Podcast at Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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