book review: culture of honor
Updated: Feb 7, 2018
“Culture of Honor” – Danny Silk - Sustaining A Supernatural Environment
With a top score, Danny Silk’s ‘Culture of Honor’ has taken up the #1 spot on my all time personal book list (not including books of the Bible or Bruce Catton’s Civil War series). Bethel Church’s Family Life Pastor speaks with authority, experience and a surplus of testimony on the topic of cultivating and maintaining an environment fit to overflow with honor and upright identity.
Far and away the most powerful tool that Silk brandishes in laying out the ways and means of an honorable culture is the case of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, where he serves as a leader and pastor. Just as a seasoned entrepreneur could tutor and impart in business, so does Silk with the active testimony that he and his peers have, in fact, instituted at Bethel, where an atmosphere saturated with honor reigns. This is an essential book for ministry leaders and business leaders that are passionate about fostering a work environment that honors God and practically applies the Golden Rule with every meeting, presentation, email, or transaction.
GRADE - A+
The Supernatural Culture
A supernatural culture is one that establishes at the outset that the values of Heaven can and should be applied here and now, in the present and the natural. This is a system ruled by love, with no alternative driving principle. When love rules, honor flourishes and things like shame, fear and bondage are removed. This, according to Silk and his colleagues, is a system deeply entrenched in the realities of heaven, as opposed to the world. It’s a system too where its people take scripture at face value and daily access to heaven becomes something that doesn’t just seem normal, but is normal. The product of sowing into and promoting this type of culture is, to put it simply, good fruit. In Bethel’s case, decades of organizational buy-in created an environment where supernatural testimonies, like physical healing, became regular occurrences. In other words, this type of fruit was cultivated by first establishing a culture that allowed room for it. The heart of this culture, as Pastor Silk explains it, is the conviction that Jesus modeled the Christian life for us. With Jesus as model, not fable, a Culture of Honor develops and a supernatural environment is perpetuated.
The Five-Fold Ministry Structure
In the chapter, ‘The Funnel from Heaven,’ Silk guides readers through the Ephesians 4:11 blueprint for Godly leadership within a local church body or ministry. This five-fold leadership structure includes apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists. Each anointing is specific to a particular function of the church and Silk believes they’re purposefully ordered in the text, as I’ve ordered them above (see 1st Cor. 12:28). Silk uses the metaphor of a plumbing system to describe how the anointings work in coalition, with each piece or part functioning to create healthy pipe works, naturally funneling the ways of Heaven to the work of the ministry here on earth.
“Without a complete, mature expression of these graces [five-fold ministry] that equip the saints, the people of God cannot be adequately prepared to contain what God is pouring out and release it to the world around them.” C of H – pg. 47
Without this structure employed in a church, ministry, or even a Christian business, Silk points to some of the all-too-common pitfalls we see today in sectors of the body of Christ that lack this basis for leadership. In the world of the ‘Lead Pastor & the Associate Pastor' things can very easily become out of balance. If the primary leader(s) has a pastoral anointing, according to Silk, the people of the congregation expect to be the be center of the universe (a dangerous concept indeed for an outward view of ministry) and the Pastor may thrive for a season, but that season usually gives way to burn-out. In contrast, if the Pastor is complemented in leadership by the other anointings, namely the apostle and prophet, he/she can provide leadership and compassion (pastoral skills) while the apostle and prophet plant and prophesy, the teacher teaches, and the evangelist ministers to the lost. Silk implies throughout this chapter and book that a body with many members can and should be applied to the leadership team as well, not just generally among believers.
Nurturing Identity From a Realization of Destiny
The above subtitle is my own but it’s a nice summation of what Silk is continually driving at in ‘Culture of Honor.’ Honor is best excavated in a culture where the people know who they are, and the individual and corporate identity must be defined from above. It’s a culture that corrects and confronts, but does not delight in punishment. It’s a place with an order to things, as dictated by God’s word, Spirit, and presence. It is, too, a group of leaders whose theology is rooted in Heaven. In light of right identity, Silk nicely paraphrases 1st John this way: "…because of the cross, our life is no longer about trying not to sin, but about fulfilling the commandment to love. But we are successful in fulfilling the command to love according to the degree that we really understand and believe what the victory that Jesus won actually means.”
This theological understanding (which surprisingly is not broadly shared in the American church) is big in a culture of honor because a complete understanding of the Gospel forces a true perspective of identity. With true identity there will always be accountability, honesty, humility, and challenge.
“When people discover their true capacity for self-control and responsibility, they then have the revelation and opportunity they need to grow toward the freedom that God desires for each of His sons and daughters.” C of H – pg. 45
Culture of Honor scores so highly on my rating scale because it’s such a rare combination of biblical understanding, legitimate leadership insight, and testimony. Where would we go or what would we do with advice or counsel that wasn’t backed up by good fruit and testimony? Bethel’s standing in the church and their influence as a catalyst for world-wide revival means to me that their resources, skills, and wisdom aren’t a random occurrence, rather they’ve effectively found a way to apply the ways of Heaven and cultivate a culture of honor.