Saturday, July 30, 2011

Christ and Culture revisited

The saturday morning reading group I am in finished Miroslav Volf's Exclusion and Embrace and has moved on to other readings. Today we looked at a chapter from Christ and Culture Revisited by Don Carson. The book is an assessment of the typology introduced by H. Richard Niebuhr in his influential 1951 book, Christ and Culture.
The chapter gives a nice accessible and succinct summary of the 5-fold typology Niebuhr introduced. According to Wikipedia Niebuhr's typology is,

Christ against Culture. For the exclusive Christian, history is the story of a rising church or Christian culture and a dying pagan civilization.
Christ of Culture. For the cultural Christian, history is the story of the Spirit’s encounter with nature.
Christ above Culture. For the synthesist, history is a period of preparation under law, reason, gospel, and church for an ultimate communion of the soul with God.
Christ and Culture in Paradox. For the dualist, history is the time of struggle between faith and unbelief, a period between the giving of the promise of life and its fulfillment.
Christ Transforming Culture. For the conversionist, history is the story of God’s mighty deeds and humanity’s response to them.
I think one could make a similar typology to characterise different Christians attitude towards science.

Aside: One think I learnt was that Reinhold Niebuhr and H. Richard Niebuhr were different people (albeit brothers). The former's Wikipedia page makes fascinating reading.

1 comment:

  1. I found those headings helpful too. But all in all I looked forward to that book for months, and found myself disappointed that it wasn't sufficiently self-contained. Having not read Niebuhr, I felt DC had expected me to.