Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finding some agreement on Christ and Culture

The debate between how Christians should engage culture goes back at least to Tertullian and Justin Martyr. Two camps continue to debate the topic in modern Reformed circles - the 'Kuyperians' or 'Transformationalists' and the 'Two Kingdom-ers'. Kuyper famously stated, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'" Advocates of Kuyper's position (who often go beyond Kuyper himself) advance the Lordship of Christ in every area of life. 'Two Kingdom' people readily, joyfully acknowledge Christ's lordship over the whole of human existence; yet argue that Christ's lordship is administrated differently in the church and the secular spehere. One king, yet two kingdoms - one spiritual and one secular.

The divide can get pretty wide, especially at the radical extremes. Yet, as Godfrey points out, there is a lot the can be agreed upon.


"As is often true in the history of the church, we [Kuyperians and 2K-ers] may not all perfectly agree what the Bible says, but I think we’re all agreed with the principle…The Bible is authoritative in everything that it says, about everything that it talks about. But I think we are also all agreed that the Bible, while authoritative in everything that it talks about, is not exhaustive in everything it talks about. The Bible tells us some things about history, but it doesn’t tell us everything about history. I believe it tell us some things about geology, but I don’t think it tells us everything about geology. I would suggest that it’s really only in three areas that we can say … it also speaks comprehensively, or completely, or exhaustively; we as Reformed Christians are committed to the proposition that that everything we need to know about doctrine and salvation is told to us completely in the Bible. … Secondly, we would say that the Bible is exhaustive in what it teaches us about worship. … And thirdly, the Bible tells us all we need to know about the Church and its government. … But I think we can probably agree as well, whatever our approach to Christ and culture, that the Bible does not speak exhaustively about politics. It says a lot of things about politics, it says a lot of things that are relevant to politics, but I don’t think any of us would want to argue that the Bible tells us absolutely everything we need to know about politics. Does the Bible even indisputably teach us whether we ought to have a democracy, or an aristocracy, or a monarchy? John Calvin says it doesn’t. … I don’t think anybody … would want to argue that every aspect of a platform proposed for a civil election could be derived from the Bible; I don’t think anyone would argue that. … So the Bible is authoritative in all that it says, but it doesn’t say everything about anything except salvation, worship, and church government."

You can listen to the great lecture "Every Square Inch" online or in iTunes.

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