Where the Wind Blows

In case you’re unsure about how/if your church should respond to culture, here are two ways to look at it.

In his new book, Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley asserts:

“Culture is like the wind. You can’t stop it. You shouldn’t spit in it. But, if like a good sailor you will adjust your sails, you can harness the winds of culture to take your audience where they need to go. If people are more interested in being happy, then play to that. Jesus did.”

To which Carl Trueman replies:

“If Stanley had the imagination to set this pragmatism in Nazi Germany or in a country where female circumcision is de rigueur, some place where middle class American tastes and preferences do not apply, then the cost of such intellectual and moral laziness would immediately become apparent. If you cannot stop culture and should not spit in it, what happens when the culture tells you that happiness comes about by gassing Jews or lacerating young girls’ genitalia? That is somebody’s culture. No point trying to resist it for that would risk irrelevance, empty pews and an isolationist Pharisaism. And we couldn’t have that, could we?”

Trueman, spot on again. If you let the culture set the agenda, you will eventually affirm things once deemed unimaginable. The goal of ministry is to preach the gospel to the glory of God, not to toss the gospel in the air and see where the wind blows it.

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