Dual Commissions

Evangelizing and Engaging Culture

It’s not an either-or situation. It’s a both-and. I’m talking about fulfilling the Great Commission and the Cultural Commission.

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Chuck  Colson

A few years ago, I spoke to a gathering of pastors about engaging the cultural battles of the day. Afterward, 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?"

That people still think this way left me momentarily speechless. "Of course we're called to fulfill the Great Commission," I replied. "We're also called to fulfill the Cultural Commission." 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.

I saw this was an “Aha!” moment for some of the pastors.

But the Scriptures are so clear. In Genesis, we're told that for five days, God created the universe. On the sixth day, He created human beings — and ordered them to pick up where He left off. They were to reflect His image and have dominion, but from then on, the development of the creation would be primarily social and cultural: It would be the work humans performed as they obeyed God's command to fill and subdue the earth.

The same command binds Christians today. We bear children, plant crops, build cities, form governments, and create works of art. While sin corrupted God's created order, it did not obliterate it. And when we are redeemed, we are both freed from sin and restored to do what God designed us to do: create culture.

Remember, every part of creation came from God's hand, every part was drawn into the mutiny of humanity against God, and every part will someday be redeemed. This means we must care about all of life. In Colossians 1, Paul notes that "everything" was made by and for Christ, and that everything will be reconciled by Christ; it's clear that Christians are saved not only from something (sin) but also to something (Christ's lordship over all of life).

This is why Christians must never limit themselves to evangelism alone or to the "feel good" church. We must not stand by while our culture is hijacked by alien philosophies hostile to the created order. Look at the issues before us: so called gay "marriage,” which is an oxymoron and will undermine the family; then there’s the creation of life in man's image, that is, cloning; abortion; and terrorism driven by religious extremists, and that’s just naming a few.

If Christians do not seize the moment and act on the cultural commission, there soon won’t be any culture left to save. But when we do our duty, we can change the world. Look at Christians like William Wilberforce, who spent most of his life fighting — and winning — the war against slavery in Britain, and bringing about a great cultural renewal in that country.

Today on my “Two-Minute Warning,” which I urge you to view at ColsonCenter.org, I talk about a church that really gets it.  It’s growing rapidly, and it’s fulfilling both commissions. It’s the Watermark (Community) Church in Dallas, Texas; the pastor Todd Wagner, a great leader.  And when you go to watch my "Two-Minute Warning," we’ll link you to a video of a stirring message he delivered to his congregation. You won’t want to miss it.

Further Reading and Information

The Logos, Now!
Chuck Colson | Two-Minute Warning | November 30,2011

Watermark Community Church
Todd Wagner | October 2, 2011

Making the Invisible Church Visible
Chuck Colson | Watermark Community Church | October 2, 2011


Dual Commissions
In her finer moments, the church has understood and sought to obey, at least to some degree, her dual calling. To return to that lofty approach would provide a corrective against the tendencies to either shrink our roles to simply engaging in revivalism and personal evangelism, or confronting culture in an all-too-often abrasive and destructive politicized stance. A proper understanding of our full mandate, coupled with what has become rare displays of humility and grace, might just do more to advance the Kingdom than most, if not all, our polarizing rhetoric has ever accomplished.
Addressing the Root not just the Symptoms
I had the privilege of participating in, and presenting at, a National Marriage/Family Conference (Assoc. of Marriage & Family Ministries - AMFM) this past June at Watermark. The thing the Lord laid on my heart and I shared with some of their leaders that I saw them doing was this...they seemed to have 2 major ministry priorities (not in their words but what I clearly observed): 1) The Gospel of Christ - His salvation and Lordship and our discipleship (with His Lordship and our discipleship left out in so many western culture churches today explaining much of the reason for the fear, apathy and ignorance when it comes to the Cultural Commission) and; 2) Marriage and Family - the primary and priority relationships through which God ordained that His Church would be built. They really emphasized these 2 things above everything else and it was obvious that disciples were being made (Great Commission) and marriage and families were being built up which in turn really encouraged and built up the Family of God in Christ...His Church and allowed for the building up of Godly relationships throughout the Church and in reaching out to the world (Cultural Commission)!

I find it interesting that the enemy clearly knows that these 2 priorities are by far the most important according to Scripture, in building up Christ's Church and Kingdom, and the foundation for all other institutions, systems and outcomes, and yet, much of the postmodern church ignores, violates, waters down or discards them. Then we wonder why we can't build relationships in the Church that will positively impact Christ's Kingdom in every other realm (dominion) by our Godly influence. Again, the enemy clearly knows they need to destroy marriage and family and the root cause is not homosexuality, per se, or abortion or cloning, etc., although we do need to stand firm in fighting the battles on these and other similar fronts! However, what we really need is to fight the battle where the enemy has placed the greatest emphasis and done the most damage, including the aforementioned 'symptoms' and many others...and Break Point has addressed this previously...Sexual License masquerading as Sexual 'Freedom'. The whole agenda of the "Free Sex" ideologists is to destroy any boundaries on sexuality and sex in order to remove the foundations and value of the Family and the Church!

Discipleship (and thus the Church of Christ) begins in the Home as designed and ordained of God throughout Scripture and history and the Home begins with sex within the boundaries of Marriage! When this is attacked, belittled, mocked and devalued, the outcomes are exactly what we're reaping in our culture, as well as much of the Church, today!

Thanks for all you do and God bless in Christ!