In both West and East it is vital for us to learn to distinguish between Scripture and culture, and between those things in culture which are inherently evil and must therefore be renounced for Christ’s sake and those things which are good or indifferent and may therefore be retained, even transformed and enriched.
In the West, according to the authors of God’s Lively People (Fontana 1971),
‘our congregations demand from every new member not only a conversion but also a change in culture. He has to abandon some of his contemporary beliefs and to accept the older patterns prevalent among the majority of the congregation. The new Christian has to learn the old hymns and to appreciate them. He has to learn the language of the pulpit. He has to share in some conservative political opinions. He has to dress a bit oldfashioned… In brief, he has to step back two generations and undergo what one may call a painful cultural circumcision’ (p.206).
Similarly Bishop David Sheppard writes that ‘few are able to be as objective as the shop steward who said that churches require you to do a crash course in middle-class behaviour, rather than to learn Christian maturity’ (Built as a City, p. 50).
John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World, p. 122-123.