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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 revelation.

            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 mountainsthose 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.

What are Those Mountains?

There are seven major mountains of cultural influence in the world:

            1. Religion

            2. Family

            3. Business

            4. Government

            5. Media

            6. Arts and Entertainment

            7. Education

            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 battle."

            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.

Joel Osteen

            I 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 world.

             "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.

Spiritual Warfare

             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 father,

a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

a man's enemies will be the members of his own household'

(Matt 10:35-36).

            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 city."

            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 Religion

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?"

"Caesar's," they replied.

Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Matt 22:15-21)

            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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