Cultural Christianity is a term used to describe the practice of certain religious beliefs and behaviors without having an actual relationship with God or real faith in Jesus Christ. It involves participating in activities like attending church services, observing holidays, and following certain religious customs, all without having a personal relationship with God. People who practice cultural Christianity may do so for various reasons such as social acceptance or family tradition. Some may also view these practices as simply “the right thing to do” without any real spiritual connection or intent behind them. In this article, we will explore what cultural Christianity is, why it exists, how to distinguish it from true faith in Christ, and why all of that matters to us in everyday life
Why Does Cultural Christianity Exist?
Cultural Christianity often arises when people are raised in an environment where they are exposed to Christian teachings and traditions without being taught about the importance of having a personal relationship with God or developing their own faith in Jesus Christ. As they grow up, they may become accustomed to participating in these activities out of habit rather than out of conviction. Additionally, some people may be drawn into practicing cultural Christianity because it allows them access to social networks within the church community that could otherwise be difficult for them to enter if they were not part of the same religion.
How To Distinguish Cultural Christianity from True Faith In Christ:
The main way that we can distinguish cultural Christianity from true faith in Christ is by looking at how people live their lives outside of just their religious practices and beliefs. People who have true faith in Jesus Christ will live out their lives according to His teachings and commandments–loving others unconditionally and seeking justice for those who are oppressed–while someone who practices cultural Christianity might live according to societal norms rather than Biblical commandments or principles. Additionally, those who have genuine faith will demonstrate evidence of spiritual transformation through outward changes such as being more compassionate towards others or being more willing to forgive those who have wronged them.
Why does it matter?
We are called to be gospel carriers into the world. Understanding the culture we live in and how we can best engage it is key. Because Jesus instructs us to live in the world (John 17:14-15), we should consider how to balance that instruction with the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19–20).
One great starting point is to invite friends and neighbors to experience your true relationship with Christ outside of the Sunday morning service. All over the bible, we see believers welcoming non-believers into table fellowship and serving them in various ways. This is a great way to show the difference between what many consider Christianity to be (somewhat superficial and maybe even hypocritical, if the cultural portrayals are to be believed) and your true, transformative faith.
Eventually, you’ll want to introduce your friends and family to your Sunday morning worship, because this is central to the Christian faith. But leading with your gospel-transformed lifestyle can often help those with a misguided concept of Christianity to realign their understanding of our faith in an organic and non-confrontational way.
For a deeper dive into Cultural Christianity, join us in our Searching for God series.