Thursday, September 20, 2007

Christ and Culture

I know I'm way behind in posting my Wed night class material. Here's what we discussed last week. Over 50 years ago H. Richard Niebuhr wrote a book called Christ and Culture. He outlined 5 ways in which the church interacts with culture. It was a good discussion in class. Here is a basic outline of those categories. Questions/comments?

Christ against Culture
Christ is the sole authority
Either/or choices
Emphasis on the “other world”
Rejection of culture and separation: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

Christ of Culture
Christ is the fulfillment of human culture
Church accommodates the culture
Emphasis on this world
Church becomes “politically correct”

Christ above Culture
According to this view what is needed is not blank affirmation or rejection of culture, but a synthesis of Christ and culture.
Culture is subject to Christ
Romans 13 example

Christ and Culture in Paradox
Tension between Christ and culture cannot be reconciled
Luther’s 2 kingdoms – 2 side by side societies
Parable of the wheat and tares

Christ the Transformer of Culture
This last option is similar to the last one, except that it is more optimistic about the ability of Christians to improve culture
Culture can be converted
This leads to the idea of a Holy Christian community here on earth, visibly set apart from non-Christian culture
Christians as salt and light


Dr Bill said...

It occurs that there is one thing standing between Christ and our culture; that is, ourselves. It is the self that in concerned how it 'plays' in our culture. As long as we cater to our ego, the culture will have more influence than God. We have to decrease so that He may increase in us.

Brian England said...

When you read Ephesians, you cannot help but think that Paul believed the role of the body of Christ is to transform culture--well, actually his vision of the church's mission is even broader then that--transforming creation itself.

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