I am continuing my slow (very slow) trek through John Frame’s Systematic Theology. I can rarely get through more than a couple of pages at a time because I just have to stop and think. To carefully consider each section as I go, because there’s so much.
One of those hit me recently while reading through Frame’s chapter on the Kingdom of God. There, he discusses Jesus’ command to go into all the nations, and addresses the fact that the word in the Great Commission for teaching is one that focuses on actions. Discipleship is the process of learning how to be a Christian, rather than just learning what we believe as Christians.[1. After all, they go hand in hand.] But shortly after that, there one particularly standout paragraph—an “aha” moment if you will:
So the Great Commission is a program for cultural change. As individuals bow the knee to Christ, they discover that worshiping Jesus must lead to action, bringing Jesus’ teachings to bear on everything. So the kingdom brings individuals to Christ and also brings those individuals to exalt him in every area of life. It is both individual and social change, until God consummates the kingdom as the return of Jesus to judge the living and the dead. (93)
I’ve been discussing church culture with a few folks for the last while—that is, what is the result of what we say we believe lived out. Specifically, I’ve been focusing on what happens as our commitment to the gospel spreads and transforms others. And in that, Frame’s words bring home an important truth: changing a culture necessarily means changing people—what they think, what they believe, and what they do. This is something that social progressives understand well, and are very effective at. But we have something better. We have the gospel and the best news of all to tell. So let’s get to telling it. Let’s get to living in light of it. If we are serious about cultural change, that’s where we need to start.