Our current contemporary culture brings new challenges to our Christian faith with each passing day. Daniel was a young man who grew up in a culture of traditional family values. Then he unexpectedly found himself in a culture that was foreign to everything he had known. His value system, his truth claims, his moral compass was challenged repeatedly at every turn. His world evolved into a world of pluralism and paganism.
Daniel could have blamed his challenging circumstances on societal ills, the court system of his day, the government, the media, the educational system or any number of a myriad of other places where Christians in our contemporary culture point fingers of accusation today. However, Daniel seems to step out of the Scripture and into our modern culture to show us some principles that will enable us not only to exist in our culture, but also to engage it and even thrive in it as well.
Like Daniel, we too find ourselves in a world that has passed from a Judeo-Christian culture to one which in many ways has become an anti-Judeo-Christian one. He has left us a book in the Old Testament that bears his name which is filled with contemporary applications that enable us to put into practice some time-honored biblical principles for addressing our contemporary world.
Can we really expect to change a crumbling culture around us? It is interesting to watch the church of Jesus Christ in the various ways it attempts to address the culture today. Some compromise — that is, they allow the permeating, pluralistic philosophy of the day to subtly take away the focus from the exclusivity of Christ. Others condone the culture. For some it is much easier to adapt to the culture and condone alternative lifestyles, not only in the pew but also in the pulpit.
There are others who condemn. Some people respond to the culture by simply beating their Bibles a little harder and screaming a little louder as though that were going to win a lost generation. And thank God there are some who learn from Daniel to confront the culture and engage it by speaking the truth in love.
The events of September 11, 2001, have left an indelible mark on the American psyche. Now is the church's moment to rise up and capture a culture. Daniel was a young man who suddenly found himself in a culture that was foreign to everything that he'd known as a youngster. He steps out of the pages of Scripture and into our world today with some valuable principles that give us tremendous advice in confronting our own culture.
Daniel was keenly aware of the tendency to simply give in to the culture around us. Sadly, this is happening in so many churches today. Some of us with good intentions have leaned over looking into the culture and studying it so long we've actually fallen into it ourselves. I do not believe Daniel is speaking softly here in these opening verses of Daniel 1. He is passionate. He is saying, "Don't give in, be resistant."