Theology of Reclaiming 7 Mountains

Reclaiming the 7 Mountains of Culture, Part 1

By Os Hillman
In 1975, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission, had lunch together in Colorado. God simultaneously gave each of them a message to give to the other. About a month later the Lord showed Francis Schaeffer the same thing. This multi-part article discusses the theology of reclaiming the culture.



In 1975, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission, had lunch together in Colorado. God simultaneously gave each of them a message to give to the other. About a month later the Lord showed Francis Schaeffer the same thing.


In November of 2007 I had the privilege of interviewing Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With and Mission. Following is an excerpt of that interview as he describes the meeting with Bill Bright that day.


"As we came in and greeted each other, {we were friends for quite a while}, and I was reaching for my yellow paper that I had written on the day before.And he said, 'Loren, I want to show you what God has shown me!' And it was virtually the same list that God had given me the day before.Three weeks later, my wife Darlene had seen Dr. Francis Schaeffer on TV and he had the same list!And so I realized that this was for the body of Christ.


I gave it for the first time in Hamburg,Germany at the big cathedral there to a group of hundreds of young people that had gathered at that time. And I said, "These are the areas that you can go into as missionaries.Here they are:First, it's the institution set up by God first, the family.After the family was church, or the people of God.The third was the area of school, or education.The fourth was media, public communication, in all forms, printed and electronic.The fifth was what I call celebration, the arts, entertainment, and sports, where you celebrate within a culture.The sixth would be the whole area of the economy, which starts with innovations in science and technology, productivity, sales, and service.The whole area we often call it business but we leave out sometimes the scientific part, which actually raises the wealth of the world.Anything new, like making sand into chips for a microchip, that increases wealth in the world.And then of course prediction sales and service helps to spread the wealth.And so the last was the area of government.Now government, the Bible shows in Isaiah 33 verse 22 that there are three branches of government, so it's all of the three branches:judicial, legislative, and executive.And then there are subgroups under all of those seven groups.And there are literally thousands upon thousands of sub-groups.But those seven can be considered like Caleb:'Give me this mountain,' and they can be a 'mountain' to achieve for God.Or they can be a classroom that you're going to disciple a nation in.Because Jesus said, 'Go and disciple all nations.'And it also can affect us because in those areas we can be changed, transformed by the Holy Spirit to be effective missionaries into the area that God has called us into, and we will see it as not just a job to get money to stay alive, but 'as the Father sent Me, so send I you,' Jesus said.


Therefore, we can be missionaries, where the word 'missionary' means 'one sent', and one sent of Jesus, if you're a lawyer in a legal office, you are sent of God.You're sent to be his missionary, or if you're in Hollywood, or you're working as a dentist, or you're working as a doctor, everything you can do for the glory of God.You may be in the area of foodservices.The Bible says in Zach 14:20 that even the cooking pots will be called 'holy' to the Lord.That's foodservices.Or transportation. Everything from a bus driver to an airplane pilot or to a car dealer or whatever it is, it says even the veils of horses will be called holy to the Lord.


So we make whatever we do, if we do it as unto the Lord, a sanctified, or a holy work, it is Holy unto the Lord.It's not just the pulpit on Sunday, that's one of the spheres.It's also all the other spheres together, and that's how we achieve advancing the kingdom of God."


Loren proceeded to explain how they began to equip young people with these 7 spheres in mind through their schools they established all over the world.


What Happened?

As I listened to his story I could not help but ask myself, "Well, if that began more than thirty years ago, why are we in the condition we are in today? We are not winning the culture; we are losing it." Loren Cunningham and Bill Bright have done a wonderful work for the Kingdom. Who could question how God had worked in and through their ministries. Yet, I had to ponder whether the strategy that was used to respond to this message was the best strategy.


You see, one of the mountains of culture is Religion. This is also known as the Church Mountain. The door that was used to reach the culture by Loren and Bill was the Religious Mountain. They trained young people in the Church Mountain and sent them out as missionaries.


These young people were being trained to win the world through evangelism. Once they won one person to the Lord, they moved to the next person. They appealed to the young people to be missionaries to win the lost. This appeal was seen as a higher calling. They often had to raise support and live on only what they needed to exist. This also contributed to a poverty spirit mindset and a dualism that said, "This is a higher call than working in a secular job." This sacred-secular divide became rampant among evangelical Christians and can be traced back to the Catholic era of 300 A.D. in which paid clergy were elevated to a higher "spiritual" position than common working people. Consequently, over the centuries this has affected men and women to believe there is actually a higher call in vocational ministry. Decades passed and these young people were a byproduct of a cultural mindset that did not see secular education as a means of impacting culture, but saw it as a cop out and even a lesser call, or in some cases, evidence of backsliding and selling out to mammon and an ungodly society.


I wonder what would have happened if we had trained them biblically and then encouraged them to go to Columbia University or Harvard or Yale and prepared them for a career in business, government, media, or entertainment to reach the culture through the these mountains. This is where real societal change is going to take place because this is where the authority lies to make societal change.


Gospel of Salvation vs Gospel of the Kingdom

Landa Cope, author of The Old Testament Template, tells how several years ago a British journalist did a documentary on the most Christianized city in America. She wanted to know the impact that a city which was the most Christianized had on the culture of that city. Christianized meant the city had the largest concentration of church attendance The city that met that criteria was Dallas, Texas.


Her research compared statistics on:


Health care

Hospitals

Emergency care

Contagious diseases

Infant mortality rate

Job availability


They compared general economics such as:

How easy is it to get a job?

How easy is it to get housing?

The relationship between potential income and potential housing.

Homelessness

Racism

The existence of abuse

Crime rates

Economic discrepancies



The results of her findings were that the city was one of the lowest ranking cities in the nation providing core services and the city was having little positive impact on the condition of the city. No one would want to live in a city in that condition. This should be very disturbing to every follower of Christ in that city.



When the journalist asked a group of Dallas pastors their response to their findings many made this statement: "Those things do not concern us. We are spiritual leaders".


I was reminded of a statement Martin Luther said many years earlier: "A gospel that does not deal with the issues of the day is not the gospel at all."


This case study is another evidence of the preaching of the Gospel of Salvation versus the Gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus preached the Gospel of Salvation but focused on the Gospel of the Kingdom more. This was because He wanted to bring the Gospel into every aspect of a person's life-including their work life. The early church gospel changed the culture and everything in it. Today, we often stop at salvation, which is a bit like sitting down after crossing the Jordan River. We have only fulfilled a small portion of the mission. This has led to a more liberalized society. We have become a society more concerned with the rapture than thinking about ways the Gospel could penetrate every sphere of life.


God's First Instruction to Man


In order to understand God's original intent for mankind we must go back to the first book of the Bible. In Genesis we find these words: "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (Gen 1:28).


God wanted man to rule the earth in cooperation with Him. We were to be stewards of the earth. The Bible tells us that God created everything and rules over everything. "All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence ( Col 1:16-18).

God's original intent was that individuals and nation's were to obey God and if they did so they would:


Prosper in every way

Fulfill their unique purpose

Fulfill God's overall plan

Receive their God-ordained inheritance individually and as a nation


In essence, all creation would reflect His glory as a result of their obedience to Him. This would allow them to have dominion over all the earth and fulfill what He spoke to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 28:1-2:

"If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth."


We have an obedience problem

So what happened to this wonderful plan? Adam and Eve changed this when they decided to sin by eating from the tree of good and evil. God had set up boundaries that they had to live within, but they chose to go outside those boundaries. What was lost in the garden? Several things were lost as a result of man's sin in the Garden of Eden:



We lost our intimate relationship with God.

We lost our ability to work unhindered. Work went from joy and worship to sweat and toil because the ground had been cursed, making it more difficult to earn a living from the soil.

Women would have pain in childbirth

There would be strife between people

Evil entered the world and resulted in murder, shame, guilt and various sorts of evils that became byproducts of this fallen state.


Dominion was lost in the Garden. However, when Jesus Christ returned to earth He did so for one purpose: to reclaim that which had been lost in the Garden. Jesus came to reclaim what Satan took in the garden.


"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself allthings, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross" (Colossians 1:19-20).


"There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all" (Eph 4:4-6).

Jesus returned to reclaim His Lordship over all domains of influence: (not just Lord over salvation)


He re-established His position as:


King of Kings - the Lord of Justice

Jehovah Jireh - Lord of Economics

Father, Lord of the family

Creator God, Lord of science & technology

Living Word, Lord of communication

Potter, Lord of the arts & beauty

Great Teacher, Lord of education


After Jesus returned it was up to followers of Christ to appropriate what He did on the cross be reclaiming all that had been lost. We are His representatives on earth to finish the reclamation mission. Many of us have not done this because we believe the earth is not God's and is now in control of Satan and so we have given over society to him. This is not biblical theology.


God wanted to establish this relationship through Moses


God desired to make Israel a new nation that would model what He had set up in the Garden of Eden. He did not want to establish a religion but a nation of people who would love, serve, and honor God. "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9-10). In the New Testament Jesus told His disciples what their assignment was to take every nation and make it His.


"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'" Amen (Matt 28:18-20).


God knows that man will be fulfilled the most when people lead them who lead by the godly principles He established from the beginning. He tells us in Proverbs, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan" (Prov 29:2). Each of us needs to ask some important questions as to where we are individually and in our community as it relates to God's original intent. Would the community notice if our local church shut its doors tomorrow? Would our workplace notice if we were no longer there? Is our industry different because of me? What would my nation look like if we modeled Deuteronomy 28 and became the head as a result of modeling Christ-like leadership and servant hood?


We are each called to impact the sphere of influence God has called us to influence. As each of us does this, we reclaim the culture one person at a time, one industry at a time, one mountain at a time.


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