Seven Mountains of Cultural Change
by Tom Brown
"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "'I tell you the truth, if
anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and
does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen,
it will be done for him" (Mark 11:22-23). In scriptures nations and
empires are sometimes called "mountains". (see Dan 2:44-45).
Alternatively, Moses received God's Law at a mountain. Jesus brought the
New Covenant at the cross set on a hill. In the New Testament the
church is called a mountain. "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the
heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to
thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of
the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven" (Heb 12:22-23).
John echoes the Hebrew writer: "And he carried me away in the Spirit
to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God" (Rev 21:10).
A mountain is a great, massive rock of
either divine revelation or satanic revelation. On the good side is the
church, which is the rock, a mountain of divine revelation. On the
opposite side is the world, which is a rock, a mountain of satanic
What Jesus is saying about moving
mountains is that we must have faith in God that we can affect great
changes in the world—that
is we can
move the mountain of satanic revelation, and replace it with divine
revelation. In other words, mountains are those established institutions
that stand in the way of God's truth. In order to reach people for
Christ we must move those mountains—those
institutions that keep people in darkness. The reason some people are
hard to reach is because they have been indoctrinated against Christ at
those institutions. Too often the church does not realize that it needs
to move mountains before they will be successful in their outreach to
the lost. Christians often get frustrated in evangelism. They do not
understand why certain people are hard to reach and others are easier.
It has to do with the mountains in their culture.
Mountains affect the culture in which
people reside. If the mountains are ungodly, then the culture will be
ungodly, and it will be more difficult to reach those people for Christ.
So to reach them, we must also be engaged in moving the mountains, as
well as actively engaged in evangelism. Yet, too often, the Church only
engages in active evangelism such as door to door witnessing, friendly
evangelism, gospel campaigns, special outreach programs, television and radio,
printed books, etc, yet they fail to affect the cultural change
necessary to be effective.
are Those Mountains?
There are seven major mountains of
cultural influence in the world:
6. Arts and Entertainment
These seven mountains affect the
culture of the people influenced by these institutions. To make real
progress with the gospel, we must change those institutions so they
reflect divine revelation. Some argue that trying to change these
institutions is trying to fight with "flesh and blood" (see Eph 6:12).
However, we are not talking about people, but spirits behind these
institutions. For me, Kings and Presidents are not my enemies; only
spirits working to influence them are my enemies. I am not against
television and movie producers that make immoral films; but only against
the unclean spirits guiding them. To cast out these spirits influencing
these institutions will take prayer, preaching and Christians getting
involved in these institutions to change them for the better.
As you can imagine, changing those
institutions will be not easy; that's why they are called mountains.
Mountains are large. They seem immovable. This is why Jesus used
mountains as the analogy; because He wanted us to know that these
institutions seem impossible to move, and they are, without God's power.
Jesus knows our feelings of helplessness when it comes to making great
cultural changes, so He encouraged us to "Have faith in God."
Nothing will happen without us putting our confidence in God. He is the
only One that can help us move those mountains.
The first requirement to move these
mountain is you have to believe you can move them. I hear
disheartened believers complain about the world, "It's useless Pastor
Brown to try to change the world. We might as well give up and wait for
Jesus to take us away." Or I hear others say, "Well, Pastor, the Bible
predicts that the world will get worse, so we are fighting a losing
As long as you think you cannot move
the mountains, then you have disqualified yourself from doing it. So you
must recognize that with God all things are possible. So you must
approach these mountains with optimism. They don't have to be taken over
by Satan and used for him to propagate lies. We can change them.
Another thing you must recognize
is there will be a battle to move these mountains. This is when fearful,
weak-knee believers fold up: "Oh, Pastor Brown, I don't want to get
involved in trying to change the world, I am just called to reach
individuals for Christ, and so I leave all that cultural change to
others." The real reason they don't engage in this battle is because
they are afraid. Pastors are afraid to lose favor with others. Ministers
don't want to appear confrontational. In the end, leaders have
underestimated the influence of these mountains. They think they can
evangelize without trying to change the culture. Sometimes, they let
others, work on the mountains, while they reap the fruit of
the hard work of others. This wrong.
It is not right nor fair to silently
consent to others trying to move the mountains while you merrily build
your ministry on the backs of those moving mountains. You must also get
involved in moving those mountains. You can't take a backseat to the
real issues of the hour in order to avoid being controversial.
find it interesting that whenever Pastor Joel Osteen gets interviewed,
the interviewers always ask him about issues he rarely if ever talks
about: gay marriage and will people from other religions go to heaven?
As much as Joel prefers not to discuss these things, the interviewers
are interested, because the answers to the questions affect the real culture of society. As much as I enjoy a nice encouraging message, in
the end we must be engaged in spiritual warfare in order to change the
"For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with
your favor as with a shield" (Ps 5:12, KJV). We need supernatural
favor from God to influence people for the truth. It is easy to get
favor when you tell people what they want to hear. To get favor that way
is not supernatural. This is why God gives favor as "a shield."
You don't take a shield to a nice picnic. You take it into battle. So we
need to trust God while we talk to people about the truth and believe
that God will give us favor in their eyes. One way of course is to make
sure we "speak the truth in love" (Eph 4:15). You don't have to
be mean or rude to tell the truth. Paul also said to "Let your
conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you
may know how to answer everyone" (Col 4:6). We need to be gracious
when we talk to people. They will be more apt to listen to us if they
feel we love all people and do not look down on anyone. We need to make
it clear that we do not believe we are superior to sinners, but we, like
them, need a wonderful Savior.
You might have noticed in your Bible, especially the Old Testament, that
there are lots of stories of war. The Old Testament is quite a violent
book. Stories of people being killed by the sword, another killed by a sling shot, and more cut in half and beheaded. At
first, when I read those stories, I thought to myself, I can't wait
to get to the New Testament where Jesus, the hippie peacemaking
preacher, teaches on love. But no sooner did I reach the New
Testament that I became shocked at Jesus words. They were not full of
tolerance like I thought. In fact, Jesus said, "Do not suppose that I
have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace,
but a sword" (Matt 10:34). The sword He is speaking about is
the "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Eph 6:17).
Then the gospels give a narrative of
Jesus using the sword by debating and arguing with religious leaders. They call Him names.
Jesus fights back and calls them "vipers, dead tombs." This was not the
image I had of Christ. The gospels shocked me and made me realize that
Jesus life and ministry were filled with antagonists.
Then of course, His life ends
violently. He is crucified by both the encouragement of the religious
leaders and the legal authority of the government. Jesus life was not
the life of a hippy just trying to get a long with everyone. He never
tried to get along with people. He spoke the truth, even when people
hated Him for it. His words divided families:
"For I have come to turn
'a man against his
a daughter against her
against her mother-in-law—
a man's enemies will
be the members of his own household'"
I remember an older man came to the
podium to speak to the El Paso City Council about me and my work in
overturning the radical gay agenda of the city. He angrily said, "I
can't stand Pastor Tom Brown," then pointing to me. "He has divided not
only the city, but my marriage. My wife is for what he is doing and I am
against it. And all we do is fight now."
I have had people write to me, "Pastor,
please, stop what you are doing. You may be right, but you are dividing
The people in my city have discovered a
minister who understands the mission of moving mountains. This means if
you decide to move mountains, then you are engaged in spiritual warfare,
and be prepared for a fight.
1. Mountain of
Then the Pharisees
went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their
disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we
know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in
accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no
attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it
right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
But Jesus, knowing
their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?
Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius,
and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"
Then he said to them,
"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Matt
This religious debate was a normal
occurrence with Jesus. He often argued with religious leaders about the
Sabbath, fasting, divorce and even about being born again. The more you
read the gospels, the more you come away with the fact that Jesus was
building the true religion. He said, "And I tell you that you are
Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades
will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven;
whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you
loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matt 16:18-19).
You would think that building the
church would be a nice, peaceful venture. Not so. Jesus said, "And
the gates of Hades will not overcome it." This means the devil will
attack the church. He will try to infiltrate it with false teachings. If
the church, which is the "pillar and foundation the truth" (1 Tim
3:15) loses its main function, which is telling the truth, then
the church becomes irrelevant and ultimately is taken over by Satan.
This has already happened with many mainline denominations. They wanted
to succor the favor of the world, so they changed its teaching to adapt
to the philosophies and morals of the world. We cannot conform to the
world, we must transform the world by speaking the truth. This means we
will have debates constantly with those trying to get us to change the
teachings of scriptures. But we must hold fast to the truth.
The term "church" was used in Jesus
times to speak of the "governmental assembly of the city where laws were
made." This is why He said, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom
of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." This does not
mean we have the authority to change the truth. In fact, the literal
Greek text as shown in the Amplified Bible clearly shows that we must
only declare lawful what God has already declared lawful, "Whatever
you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is
already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on
earth must be what is already loosed in heaven" (Matt 16:19, AMP).
As you can see, heaven will only affirm your words if they conform to
the truth spoken by God in heaven.
Basically Jesus is saying, "As goes the
church, so goes the world." We are the pillar and foundation of the
truth, and we are the salt and light of the world (see Matt 5:13-15). In
old times salt was used as a preservative. Salt preserves meat so it
does not become rotten. Jesus is saying that the world will become
rotten if you do not act like salt by speaking the truth to the world.
Also the world is in darkness and we bring them to the light by speaking
and living the truth. Without the church, there is no hope.
The church is the largest mountain of
cultural change. Unfortunately we see the devil tempting the church
leaders into sin and by leading the leaders into false teaching. Today,
some churches are ordaining as bishops active homosexuals. Others
question whether Jesus is really the only way to God. They have
conformed to the world.
Taking the stand for these truths may
be unpopular to some people, it may even sound hateful to others, and
definitely it will sound judgmental to many, but we must not waver in
speaking the truth in love.
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