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What Is Crossculture?

The term crossculture has a double meaning.  First, it recognizes that Christianity, like any movement, has its own culture distinct from other cultures.  A culture is defined as an “agreed upon set of invisible values of a group of people.”  Missionary efforts of Christianity demand that followers of Christ “cross” into other cultures in a similar fashion to Jesus, the first missionary, and his incarnation (John 1:14). 

Second, the culture of Christianity must be determined by the example of its founder, Jesus Christ, especially his dying on the cross.  The cross carries its own philosophy or wisdom (1 Cor. 1:18-31).  In fact the “logos” of the cross is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).  The term “logos” is often translated word or message, but it can refer to the “ordering principles” or “defining character” of something as it was sometimes used by ancient Greek philosophers.  Corinth was steeped in Hellenism and could have understood the term in this way.  Jesus is refered to as the “logos” of God in John 1 with clear implications to the idea that Jesus represents the “ordering principles” of God.  To put it in other terms, Jesus is God’s expression of His logic, wisdom, and character.  His life, words, relationships, ministry, death, and resurrection reveal to us God’s character.  We serve a God like Jesus. 

The “logos” of the cross is contrasted with the “logos of sophia (wisdom)” in 1 Cor. 1:17 referring to the logic of the world.  God created the world with His true logic, but a competing logic has gripped the world in the form of sin.  The “logos” of these two contradictory systems run parallel to one another with the logos of human wisdom dominating, thus making God’s logos a “mystery” (1 Cor. 2:7).  However, through Jesus and his cross the true heart of God has been revealed.  This means that Jesus not only saves us, but shows us a different “logos” in which to live.

My passion about the “logos of the cross” comes out of a sense of discontent concerning our contemporary Christian mode of operation.  I am deeply afraid that we often try to accomplish the mission of Christ with the logos of the world (materialism, membership privileges, budgets spent on members instead of mission, etc.).  The culture of Christianity (its invisible but agreed upon values) should come from the example of Jesus.  The church is not only called to respect,ie in, and honor Jesus; but also we are called to imitate him even his death on the cross.  This will mean that the cross itself produces a “logos” that determines the mode in which the church should operate. 

Three defining characteristics of the cross speak to us loudly about the “logos” that must drive the church.  First, the cross is a concrete act of love (Rom. 5:8, 1 John 3:16).  A culture of the cross will also offer love not only in word but in concrete actions (1 John 3:18).  Also, it is a love given to enemies, thus surprising them with grace (Matt. 5:43ff).  Second, the cross is an act of great generosity often referred to in the Bible as a “gift” (Rom. 5:15, 17; 6:23) not to mention various other financial metaphors for salvation (e.g. 1 Cor. 6:20).  The church must also adopt a value of generosity especially in its use of resources.  Third, the cross was an act of sacrificial service (Matt. 20:25-28).  The church will imitate the cross when we seek to express the love of God through service and realize that this is the wisdom of God.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tonya Etherton permalink
    June 30, 2010 12:55 am

    Thank you God for our book Club & Pastor Dr. Nathan Joyce. I look forward to book club every week. I am excited about the Radical movement in our church for God. I am also scared at the same time!

  2. Mike permalink
    July 12, 2010 10:11 am

    May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

  3. Sarah Housman permalink
    August 2, 2010 9:54 am

    Thank you for sharing the book Radical…..it is still working in my heart in some challenging ways. I am starting to re-read it this week. Who knew feeling “unsettled” could be so great!

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