The ABC's of Culture Introduction In Bolivia's Altiplano, many of the Aymara have professed Christ, but they still live in poverty. They still revere the local deity, the Pacha Mama. Rwanda was the home of the east Africa revival. Eighty percent of Rwandans professed Christ. The country had been evangelized and churches planted. Yet between April 6 and mid-July of 1994, genocide occurred. Out of a nation of seven million people, one million were killed and 2 million were refugeed. What happened? There is no simple answer. The thesis of this writer is that in both of these examples animism is at the heart of both cultures. While the Gospel had come and churches been planted, there has been a failure to disciple "nations" in the "deep truths", in the full counsel of God. There has not been a transformation of the mind of individuals and the fundamental principles of culture. Sometimes Christian religious practices have covered an animistic mind. At the heart of animism is power -the use of spiritual power to control human events. This power is most often destructive. Animism is based on power, control, and fear of death rather than love, service, and reverence of life. Natural Man is Enslaved A. Read Ephesians 6:10-17 1. What is our struggle not against? 2. What is our struggle against? 3. Describe in your own words who the enemy is. B. Satan, the Father of Lies 1. Read John 8:44 a. Who is Satan? b. What does he do? 2. Read Revelation 20:3, 7-8. What is Satan's big strategy? 3. Read 2 Corinthians 4:4. What has the god of this age done? C. Read Galatians 4:3-10 and Colossians 2:6-8, 15, 20 1. How does Paul characterize the believer's past? 2. By whom? Note: We are looking for someone, not something. 3. What did Christ do? 4. How did He do it? 5. What are the present consequences for the believer? 6. What is the future choice for the believer? 7. What do the principalities and powers use to enslave us? Note: We are looking for their methods. a. Galatians 4:3 b. Colossians 2:8 The Tools of Enslavement Paul argues that Satan uses two major weapons to enslave us. 1. Man-centered philosophy (Colossians 2:8) which he calls hollow, deceitful and based on human tradition. In your own words describe: a. Hollow (kenos)-empty: b. Deceptive (apate)-delusion: c. Human tradition (paradosis)-from the word "transmission" d. Read I Peter 1:18-19. How does Peter describe the consequences of following man-centered philosophy that is passed down from generation to generation? 2. Basic principles of the world (Galatians 4:9, Colossians 2:8) a. In Galatians he calls these principles weak and miserable. In your own words describe: i. Weak (asthenes)-without strength: ii. Miserable (purgos)-a tower or castle b. What is implied by describing the basic principles of the world as weak and miserable? c. What does the term "basic principles of the world" mean? Greek word stoicheion (n) (stoy-key-on) = first principles From stoicheo (v) = to walk in an orderly fashion, to proceed in a row, as marching soldiers d. Concept: First principles, elements, rudiment; in every area of life there are first principles. Identify the fundamental principles of: i. Reading and writing ii. Music iii. Science iv. Math v. Painting vi. Nations e. Gailyn Van Rheenen, a missionary in Kenya from 1973 to 1976, writing in Communicating Christ in Animistic Contexts writes: ... the systemic view [of spiritual warfare] sees the powers as personal spiritual beings who are actively impacting the socioeconomic and political structures of societies. These powers have established their own rules and regulations that pull cultures away from God. The elementary principles (stoicheia) spoken of in Pauline writings (Gal. 4:3; Col. 2:8, 20 NASB) are an example of this… [Stoicheia] are illustrated by legalistic observances of the law, worship of angels, and returning to pre-Christian animistic practices. Stoicheia within these contexts are the demonic contortions of human society. The powers, although personal spiritual beings, have invaded the very fabric of society. Thus even Christian institutions reflect these demonic influences when the powers invade human institutions. p. 101 f. Examples of Satan's lies i. Hinduism: Ignorance is a virtue, aviaya ii. Machismo: men are better than women iii. Hedonism: Death reigns iv. Secularism: Human life has no value g. List two or more prominent lies that are believed in your culture. D. Freedom from enslavement 1. What is the foundation for community (national) destruction? 2. What is the foundation for community (national) development? 3. If individuals and nations are going to be permanently (read "sustainable development") freed from the impact of poverty, development projects must be placed in a larger context. The preaching of Christ can deliver people from Satan's power. The replacing of false stoicheion with Kingdom stoicheion lays a foundation for lasting development. 4. Compassion workers are wisdom workers. Also answer these questions. 1. State in your own words the main point of the Bible study. 2. As you processed this Bible study, what was your personal highlight? 3. What things in it were unclear for you? 4. What questions do you have on which you want to reflect further?
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