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The Cultural Mandate and the Great Commission
And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food. (Genesis 1:27–29)
This is the Cultural Mandate—also called the Creation Mandate, or the Dominion Mandate. The Great Commission is a kind of re-publication of this mandate:
All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you. (Matthew 28:18–20)
Understanding the Cultural Mandate’s relationship to the Great Commission (and vice versa) allows Christians to avoid two common ditches: the social gospel, and a type of gnostic gospel.
The social gospel is where the Lordship of Jesus Christ becomes secondary to some cause (e.g. abolish abortion, eliminate poverty, etc).
The gnostic gospel, as we are talking about it, is where the Lordship of Jesus Christ is limited to “spiritual things” and is rarely applied to life outside the walls of the church.
When we hold the Cultural Mandates and Great Commission together, we see that God’s mission is both redemptive and cultural. It applies both to individuals and to society. As a matter of fact, culture is religion externalized. You have probably heard the saying, “culture is downstream from religion.” This is true. The term culture itself comes from the Latin, cultus, which also brings us the words cult and cultivate. These connections are not accidental. Culture will change when men are transferred by God from dead religion to a true and living religion.
Thus, the culture war is waged by preaching the gospel and then equipping Christians to go and live their vocations and stations to the glory of God.
This is why at East River (Michael’s church) and Redwood (Bnonn’s church plant), we…
Emphasize a doctrine of household. Your home shouldn’t just be a place to eat, stream, and sleep. It’s should be a place of productivity. This takes the form of family discipleship, side hustles/businesses, Christian hospitality, etc.
Emphasize a doctrine of vocation. Your job isn’t drudgery. It’s a ministry and opportunity to bring good to others, and glory to God.
Emphasize a doctrine of place. Your “place” matters. God has determined to put you when and where you are in history. Trust His wisdom, and love where He has put you. Ask, “How can I honor God in this particular place?”
Urge Christians to co-op existing programs and third places. Is there a good coffeehouse, gym, or sports program in your community? If so, there is no need to create something new and “explicitly Christian.” Just join what exists. Be salt and light to transform it.
Urge Christians to start companies in the local community. There is incredible culture-making power in businesses run according to biblical principles. They bring in jobs, and they directly shape the culture of those whom they employ and service. What business is lacking in your community? Start one.
Urge Christians to take full advantage of their citizenship. Paul took advantage of his Roman citizenship. Christians should do the same for their national citizenships. Vote according to a Scripture-shaped conscience. Run for office and rule in a godly way. Show up to council meetings. Become mayor. Make use of your freedoms for the good of the church, and those in your community.
It’s a simple strategy. It just isn’t easy. Nothing worthwhile is.
Discontentment v. desiring something #
Wisdom from our members group, Tyrannus Hall:
It’s not wrong to want something.
It’s not wrong to want something badly.
Contentment isn’t a lack of desire. Contentment is to be okay with the process of obtaining.
Discontentment is to reject the process of obtaining and to covet the having.
Discontentment will never become content, not because it will never have what it wants, but because it will never do what it takes to have what it wants.
A content man works hard to get what he wants. He is content to work hard to get it, and he is content to have it when he gets it.
The key to job satisfaction #
There is a lot of evidence that the driver of vocational satisfaction is not working in your passion area. Rather, it spending time developing skills in a role.
The thought is that time-in-role generally yields the skills and experience required to master your vocational craft. It is this mastery that produces job satisfaction, rather than any innate passion.
A lot of people jump from role to role, or industry to industry, in search of a job that is satisfying. It would often be wiser to invest that energy into skill development for the current job/industry in which you work. If you do this, you will probably discover that it becomes increasingly satisfying over time.
Q&A on getting into apologetics: #
Q: I’m 21 years old and have read your article on mission, but I wanted to ask, what is a metric for being faithful in apologetics, (as I feel called to this)? Does it involve lots of Evangelism as well as studying ?
I’m studying presuppositional apologetics and other things that James White has advised on learning if I want to do apologetics. Does that also affect faithfulness as well?
Firstly, you should watch this and commit to doing it:
Secondly, you should remember that apologetics is a branch of theology, and theology starts with exegesis. So you must become good at reading and interpreting Scripture, systematizing its teachings (systematic theology), and detecting its patterns (biblical theology).
(Bnonn started New Zealand’s biggest apologetics ministry, Thinking Matters, and eventually walked away because so few apologists follow points 1 and 2 above.)
Thirdly, apologetics exists to build up the church. It can do this through destroying the pretensions of unbelievers so that they have no excuse—and the Holy Spirit can use this to bring them to faith. That is where it intersects with evangelism. But it can also do this by encouraging believers, answering their questions and removing their doubts. Ultimately, your faithfulness will be tested by how well you served God in building his kingdom, not necessarily by how well you did evangelism. Follow your nose and look for the opportunities God provides.
Fourthly, in this vein, apologists tend to be lone wolves. That is not the way God designed men to function effectively. Be on the lookout for another brother or two that you can join with. You will do far greater work with others than alone, and be far more quickly sanctified.
Fifthly, if you find a wife and have children, do not let your apologetics ministry eclipse your ministry to your own household. That is a constant problem for men like us, at any age.
But there is truth to faking it until you make it…
Btw, we know that true confidence also comes from resting in Christ and trusting in God. We are not denying that by saying this. We are making a psychological point, not a theological one. The man who built his house on rock trusted it more after the storm than before.
New podcast on Cage Stage Patriarchy: #
In this episode, we talk about how to move through a cage stage, towards a more fully-formed patriarchy:
What is a cage stage?
Basically a period after a conversion experience in which excessive zeal leads you to over-correct from your previous position. The main thing you’ll notice about a cage stage is that everything becomes black and white, and your tendency to radicalize everything alienates people. Even people who would otherwise be likely to agree with you.
(You can also find the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Podcast Addict, etc.)
One of our readers shares a music video he created about abortion: Womb War (Official Music Video) @Kdubtru - YouTube
Marriage, Transactions, and Covenants | Doug Wilson - YouTube. “The feminist critique wants to say that the problem is the presence of sex for money. The real problem is that it is not nearly enough sex for not nearly enough money.”
Talk again next week,
Bnonn & Michael