22 September 2006

Evaluating the Christ of Culture View

Are you my Jesus?Two glaring problems exist in the Christ of Culture view.

First, Christ of Culture views tend to downplay the need for special revelation and overplay the content and efficacy of general revelation. Human reason (especially as dictated by the prevailing sensibilities of the day, e.g. Platonism for the Gnostics and Enlightenment philosophy for Liberals) determines what parts of Scripture are accurate and authoritative. Niebuhr, whose view of the accuracy of the Scriptures is not substantively different from that of these liberals, still clinches the problem of authority found in the Christ of culture view: “Loyalty to contemporary culture has so far qualified the loyalty to Christ that he has been abandoned in favor of an idol called by his name.” These “cultural Christians” emphasize whatever part of Christ’s message agrees with reason (read: common sentiment). At all costs they strive to lose the offense of the gospel. In the end, they deny the gospel itself and never quite assuage the world’s objections.

Second, my recent comments about the pervasiveness of depravity fit here as well. In this case, however, the problem is not only the denial of depravity within the Christian community, but the denial of depravity altogether. All of human civilization maybe accepted as good and from God as Creator. He is the father of all humans, and therefore, everything they make is good. On this view, all of culture is good and can only stand to get better. But the Scriptures are, if possible, even clearer on universal total depravity then they are concerning continuing depravity in the lives of the regenerate.

Both Old and New Testaments explicitly vitiate the denial of universal depravity. For instance, Solomon candidly admits, “there is no one who does not sin” (1 Kgs 8:46). The familiar NT verse, Romans 3:23, also shows it, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

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