It has taken Christians 2,000 years to begin to understand the all-encompassing concept of culture in relation to faith; this isn’t a surprise given the cultural history of the Church. At the birth of the Church the Romans divorced a Biblical faith from its Hebrew culture. By slapping the tenets of the faith onto a pagan culture, they set a precedent that has defined Christianity for centuries as an amorphous faith that conforms to the shape of whatever culture it has inhabited. From ancient Roman traditions like the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox transformed into Christmas and Easter, to South American Indian traditions like Dia de los Muertos transformed into All Saints Day, the Church has ritualized and glorified assimilation. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that Christians like Beck are losing the culture war for America; they’ve been compromising on their own culture for the past 2,000 years.
When God gave the Torah to the Israelites, He was calling a people out of pagan tribalism. What Western civilization takes for granted as an acceptable moral outlook was big news to a people all too familiar with bizarre practices including child sacrifice, bestiality, murder, and adultery among other sordid behaviors. The Israelites didn’t receive God’s Torah as a Dummies’ guidebook for casual reading or as a series of laws to live by or perish. Torah is the guidebook that supports the calling God gave to Abraham to be set apart as a living example of how good a relationship with God can be. The word “Torah” carries with it the implication of hitting the mark. By divorcing a culturally Jewish faith from its Biblical roots, the Church missed the mark.
Fast-forward 2,000 years to folks like Glenn Beck who are only beginning to understand that politics and religion are mere elements of the culture itself. Christianity has always focused on the elements because it is, in and of itself, elemental: the Church was designed to be only one part of an empire, an amorphous idea that conforms to the desires and ideologies of the culture within which it has been planted. Hence the Presbyterian Church, now well-rooted in the culture of the BDS Movement, can release a politically motivated “congregational study guide” on Zionism that “…takes aim at the ideological, moral and historical foundations of Israel, falsely labeling Zionism ‘Jewish supremacism’ and denying Israel’s very right to exist as a modern nation state.”