Culture (current culture) is evil! This is the mentality that was taught to me for the first 25 years of my life. If it was popular then it was wrong. And for the most part, if it looked fun, then it was wrong. Beer was brewed in hell, pants were sewn in the devils sweat shop, the movie theater was a place that promoted immorality, the TV invited the wicked to sit and teach your children how to live for the devil, and the drum beat was forged by the blacks as they worshipped satan in the heart of Africa (racist, I know, but taught none the less).
I hope this sounds far fetched to you, as that means you weren’t exposed to this kind of false teaching; sadly, for many these things are all too familiar. For me, it was a way of life. I thought they were teachings of truth and I unquestioningly drank the “kool-aid”. Until I began to bring those teachings, and many more like them, to the examination table of Scripture. At that point, I found them to be utterly false. They were not biblical boundaries, but man-made rules based on fear and/or ignorance used to bind people. Now, I believe most of the people who propagated these extra-biblical rules meant well. This article isn’t about their motives, it’s about the common struggle one has at discovering one has been lied to on these matters.
Upon coming to this realization, the temptation is to throw all caution to the wind. The temptation is to guzzle beer until one is completely sloshed. To listen to anything and everything without discretion, and to enjoy anything and everything that hits the “big screen” (see an article written by a friend of mine on this issue here). To do this is just as wicked as to lay unscriptural burdens on the backs of men/women. Legalism doesn’t do it ‘cause it’s popular. The libertine does it because the legalist doesn’t. The Christian needs to avoid both evil attitudes.
The Christian can, and should, enjoy things in culture. God has given us gifts, yes alcohol being one of them, that are to be enjoyed. (see an article on the Scripture and alcohol here, and I would also recommend reading this short article on the topic as well.) The fact that fallen humanity so often tries to “enjoy” God’s gifts outside the boundaries God intended doesn’t make those gifts evil. For the Christian today, we have to be thoughtful of how we consume the culture. All we do should be done to God’s glory. Now this isn’t to say that unless you can directly lead someone to Jesus through it then it should be done. We give God glory not only when we verbally proclaim the good news of The Messiah to others, but also when we enjoy the gifts He has given us to enjoy in the manner in which He intended us to enjoy them. This takes discernment on the part of the Christian. While there are some parts of our culture that are steeped in the spirit of anti-Christ that if they were to be redeemed they would cease to exist; most of our culture can be enjoyed and redeemed by us – SHOULD BE even.
So be careful not to fall into either ditch – that of legalistic abstinence or libertine indulgence. Walk in love, giving Him honor and glory as you enjoy His gifts with thanksgiving.