Should Religion be Adapted to the Culture of the Times?


There are many views on how the Bible should be interpreted in establishing religion, ranging from literal and rigid to flexible and adaptive to suit the culture of a given time in history – should the Bible be interpreted to fit our present way of life?

New Archbishop calls for adaptation of religion to contemporary society

Stephen Cottrell was named as the next Archbishop of York by the Church of England, and his progressive views aren’t sitting well with everyone.

Cottrell takes issue with church teachings that go against contemporary society. Cottrell said “missiological damage” is being done.

For a definition, missiology is concerned with practical theology looks into the mandate, message, and mission of the Christian church, especially the nature of missionary work.

Modern culture and religions stumbling block: LGBTQ

The area of modern culture where society and the church are at odds, and the one that concerns Cottrell the most has to do with LGBTQ issues.

Cottrell is concerned that the biblical view of same-sex relations is creating “homophobia.”

And while Cottrell acknowledges that Bible addresses the issue, he argues that “what we know now about human development and human sexuality requires us to look again at those texts to see what they are actually saying to our situation, for what we know now is not what was known then.”

Adapting the Gospels to modern gender and sexual culture

Cottrell argues that church teachings should now be developed around “a proper 21st century understanding of being human and of being sexual.”

Cottrell says that LGBTQ issues are “the refining fire of the questions the culture poses that reveal new depths to the gospel we proclaim.”

In further criticizing the church, Cattrall said it is “particularly foolish for us to ignore the missiological damage that is done when that which is held to be morally normative and desirable by much of society and by what seems to be a significant number of Anglican Christian people in this country, is deemed morally unacceptable by the church.”

Are the gospels unchanging?

 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

– Malachi 3:6

Despite Cottrell’s beliefs, the majority of Christians believe that the words and teachings of the Bible are timeless, unchanging and enduring for every culture that has and will exist.

God exists beyond the boundary of time, where our definition of the past present and future are not the same – God sees everything at once.

Recent discoveries in physics confirm this definition and perspective of time exists. God already knew the future when he inspired mankind to write down His words in the Bible.

Therefore, God’s word was already written for all times and all cultures.

God never changes: Bible verses about hope in a changing world

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said it best when he said: “The only thing constant is change.” Change is ever-present in the world, and certainly not every change is positive nor for the better.

However, what gives to Christian hope is that God never changes. God is the one unchanging constant in a constantly changing world that can be relied upon.

For the Jew in the Old Testament and the Christian in the New Testament, both attest that the word of the Lord God and those of Jesus Christ are unchanging.

Isaiah 40:8

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

James 1:17

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”