Monday, 28 September 2009

Is that cultural or authoritative?


Often when reading passages which appear strange to us we ask the question, "Is that cultural or authoritative?" If we conclude, 'it's just cultural' we can simply ignore it.

Should men kiss in Church?

1Th 5:26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
1Co 16:20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

You may have pondered this when reading Paul instruct male Christians to greet each other with a kiss. I love my Pastor, but the thought of greeting him with a kiss is more than a bit strange. Do I really have to do that? Isn't that just cultural?

Rubbish question.

It was pointed out to me recently that this is really a rubbish question to start with!

All scripture is BOTH culturally conditioned AND authoritative...

2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Therefore, we cannot simply ignore the parts which we find confusing and/or amusing... We have to work a little harder.

Some good questions to start with

What was going on at the time?
What is God concerned about and why?
What does that look like today?
How can we apply this value?

Some brief suggestions

At the time the above verses were written the Church was being built and ways of relating were being established.
The Church should be like family with love and affection.
Christians should treat each other as family.
'If blood is thicker than water, gospel is thicker than blood.'
Brothers in their culture would greet each other with a kiss.
In Exeter, brothers who love each other greet each other with a hug.

I find it curious that if we applied these texts without cultural consideration, we would miss the point of the text and not be obedient to God's desires. If we all started kissing each other I don't think that would cultivate the loving family atmosphere and brotherly affection God so desires.

Christians should greet each others as the family we are if we're going to apply and not ignore these verses.

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