Volume. XXI, No. 3
Sunday, 16 July 2006

From the pastors heart: Cultural Mandate Exhortations

When we normally talk about Christian mandate, we talk about the Great Commission, which focuses on evangelism in Matthew 28:19-20.  That is not my primary concern for this article, but the cultural mandate.  The cultural mandate is an obligation of the covenant man to subdue the earth and to exercise dominion over it under God (Genesis 1:26-28).  Here I’d like to quote 2 Corinthians 10:4-6.  “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”  Verse 5b says, “every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.”  The objects of the cultural mandate are very wide and broad.  It includes basically every aspect of human reasoning, experiences, and academics.  Everything must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  Anything that stands against the knowledge of God must be opposed and submitted to Christ.  It is Paul’s way of talking about cultural mandate.  In order to fulfil this mandate, there are a few things to be done.

First, the knowledge of God must be taught and every one needs to be convinced by it.  It requires Christians to know of what they believe.  Christians must be able to affirm their personal and saving faith in Jesus Christ and biblical Christianity.  It means that born-again Christians are the ones who should mould Christian culture.  At the same time, they need to be mature ones in Christ Jesus, for they need to have the knowledge of biblical Christianity.  Without the knowledge of God, they cannot have the Christian worldview.  Without it, they do not have spiritual discernment.  Therefore, all leaders in our church groups must be led and guided by well-taught and well-informed Christians who have made their faith known to the public.  Probably, some of you have noticed that I have kept on saying “biblical Christianity.”  The notion of biblical Christianity is important because some believers consider their preferences as the marks of biblical Christianity.  For example, some people are more interested in the format of worship services than doctrines.  Some are more interested in clothes above everything else.  Thus, they determine everything by appearances.  A problem is that they equate their preferences to the level of biblical Christianity.  If someone does not follow their choices, then he is branded as non-spiritual and even non-Christian.  In certain areas and issues, we may have to be gracious rather than cynical and judgmental.  However, in order to understand God’s principles, we ought to have the knowledge of God taught from the Scriptures.

Second, churches and Christians must be able to withstand the challenges from the world, not simply by brushing them aside, but by providing them with answers and guidance.  Challenges against the knowledge of God may come from any field of studies such as business and management, education, the environment, health and social care, arts, languages, history, literature, music, information technology, law and criminology, mathematics and statistics, psychology, philosophy, politics, economics, human resources, sciences such as astronomy and planetary science, natural sciences, biological sciences, chemistry, earth sciences, geography, geosciences, molecular science, physics, social sciences, and many others.  We must set goals to bring glory to the Lord by being excellent in all of these areas.  Christians must have dreams for God.  It requires hard work and much sweat.  Christian churches must be able to offer more than Sunday-school level teaching.  Os Guinnes spoke of “Sunday school-level faith in a university-level society.”  The world invents and improves itself rapidly and technology has been improved remarkably.  During all these changes, churches have been changed from bad to worse.  Liberal theology has crept in and destroyed the faith of the weak minded.  Worldly culture has replaced Christian culture and values.  We have seen churches fighting and conflicting with each other, not with the world.  We must honestly appraise our current spiritual condition in the world.  

There are two things in which we have failed to excel.  We have failed in learning Christ from the Scriptures.  Most believers neither know of nor understand Christian doctrines.  They have not been taught, which is the fault of the leaders.  They have not been willing to learn, which is the fault of the people in our churches.  Christians are excited and have gone crazy with loud music and miracle claims, which require them neither to think nor to understand.  People are so used to easy messages and do not like to think deeply.  Most messages we hear today are mostly moral and ethical ones.  There are lots of “do’s” and “don’ts” in order to get rich, wise, or spiritual.  There is no chance for them to meditate because nothing in those messages is substantial enough to think over.  People like simple formulas that may guide them through their trials and difficulties.  Everything preached and taught seems to stimulate our flesh, not our minds.  The world sees and analyses what we are doing and concludes that we are wrong and abnormal.  How often are Christians criticised by the world that they are a bunch of ignorant people?  It is because we have not provided good answers to their questions.  1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”  How can we fulfil the cultural mandate as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ?”  

We are to cast down imaginations and every high thing that is against the knowledge of God and to bring it into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  What God wants us to do is neither to enjoy endless holidays in the world nor to retreat into a monastic life of only prayer and meditation.  We ought to recognize that God wants us to go to heaven, but at the same time He wants us to tilt the earth.  God wants us to save souls by brining them to Christ, but He also wants us to work hard and to rule and to lead the world, not the other way around.  All Christians must be diligent to learn of Christ.  All Christians must diligently guard their hearts from the temptations of the world.  At the same time, all Christians must pursue excellence for Christ.  Why can’t we pray for our young people to become the leaders of tomorrow’s culture by becoming leaders in their fields?  Christians, put the world in your hearts and mould it by the Christian culture.  Be the leaders of your fields!  Pray to God to use you for His glory.  Stand up and don’t be idle!  Do not let your eschatology make you be pessimistic until Jesus comes again.  Expect great things from the Lord!  I pray that the Lord will raise His people from Hope church to fulfil our cultural mandate.

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 54: What is required in the third commandment? The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev David Koo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, & Winston Selvanayagam; Sisters Lee Lan Chong, Sheila George, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe, Sally Teng, Susan Veradi, & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Dn Edwin D’Mello’s sister, Auntie Oei & others afflicted with viral illness. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions - Rev & Mrs David Koo; b) Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam; c) Pastors & believers in India & Pakistan; d) Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim & ministry; e) Journey mercies - Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Adl), Bro Hai Seng Lim (Melb); those travelling during school and university vacation; f) Coming event - Vacation Bible School: for Speaker - Bro Hai Seng Limg; helpers and children; g) Jobs for - Bro Jonathan Liao, Mr Leo Xeng & Sis Yee Min Tee; h) Victims of bomb blasts in Mumbai, India.

Praise and Thank God for – a) Ladies’ Prayer meeting; BSAG, Joy & Maranatha Prayer & Bible Study Meetings, & YAF Retreat at Camp Aldinga; b) Journey mercies - Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Tas), Dn Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Bros Hai Seng Lim (Adl) & (Dr) Zhi Qiang Wee; Sisters Amber Au (Adl), Lena Fan & Serene Wong (S’pore); YAF campers (Aldinga/Adl).
Special Warm Welcome to our pulpit - Bro Hai Seng Lim.

Deepest sympathy to the Chong (Yoong & Nita) family on their recent bereavement.
Hospitality Roster for Bro Hai Seng Lim is on the notice board. Please invite Bro Hai Seng to your homes for lunch or dinner. (Luke 10:7; 2 Cor 9:7).
Praise & thank God for a blessed performance by the Sunday School Children at Kirkholme Eldercare last Lord’s Day. Thanks to the parents and others who provided transport and encouragement to the children.

Pre-BBK class on Tue, 18 July, 9:30am to 3:00 pm. Class conducted by Ps Ki. All welcome to attend. Crèche and lunch provided.

Looking Ahead: ACM at 7:30 pm on Sat, 12 Aug. All members expected to attend.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041