Last week, Chuck Colson related in his daily BreakPoint about speaking with a group of pastors regarding engagement of culture. "Afterward," Colson said, "the pastors had a lot of questions — but they were also a little confused. One confessed, 'I’d never heard of the Cultural Commission, and will it interfere with fulfilling the Great Commission? Isn't that our job—to win people to Christ?'"
Colson was momentarily speechless: "Of course we're called to fulfill the Great Commission," he replied. "'We're also called to fulfill the Cultural Commission.'"
He went on: "Christians are agents of God's saving grace — bringing others to Christ. But we are also agents of His common grace: We're to sustain and renew His creation, defend the created institutions of family and society, and critique false worldviews."
This exchange with a group of pastors underscores a critical issue deserving more attention among evangelicals. We have bifurcated the First Commission of Genesis 1:26-28 [the "Cultural Commission"] and the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, much to the church's determent, and the detriment of society at large.
This condition could go a long way toward remedy with pastors preaching a robust theology of work from the pulpits. With such leaders teaching it regularly, we could see a change in the thinking of the church at large, with respect to integration of faith and daily work.
But I don't think this will happen until the two Commissions are bonded as one in the minds of church leaders, and the integration of faith and work is viewed as essential to the fulfillment of the Gospel itself.
Actually, there is much overlap between the First Commission of Genesis and the Great Commission of Matthew. The Great Commission is largely a re-statement of the First, with the added necessity of restoring people to a right relationship with the Lord. This relationship was broken at the Fall, not long after the First Commission was given, and this relationship is critical. But both Commissions have a fundamental connection with this present life on planet earth.
I'll pick up from here next week.