The Responsibility for Christianity to Redeem Culture through Christ

By Matt Honeycutt

As the recipients of special grace, Christians are called to cultivate the landscape of common grace.[1] All Christians in Christ have the responsibility to redeem culture for the common good of mankind’s soul. Reflecting upon Kuyperian thought, Bacote states, “…the best society will result from a responsible and faithful stewardship of common grace.”[2] This is one aspect of Jesus’s stated second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.[3]

Christianity has Separated Itself in the Past and Not Redeemed Culture

            Regardless of Jesus’s command, Christianity in the last century has managed to separate itself from culture at the expense of men’s and women’s souls. Due to conservative fundamentalists losing influence over culture, culture has since been abandoned for a fixed hope of the soon appearance of Jesus Christ.[4] The focus drifted away from engaging culture and society with the gospel to honing in more on individual conversions.[5] This is important. However, this mantra has poisoned the minds of believers into thinking there is nothing worth saving in this world other than individuals.

            If culture is abandoned, then many souls will naturally cave in with it as humanity is intimately linked to culture. Many will fall prey to neglect as Christian influence is diminished in society. With the loss of culture to the world comes the loss of souls. The more influence a corrupt, Christian-less culture exerts, the more impact it can make on leading people spiritually astray.

Christianity must Engage Itself in the Present and Future to Redeem Culture

            No matter how debased culture can become, there is no separation between Christianity and culture.[6] Culture must be redeemed for the common good of all. Pinson makes an all-important observation, as all Christians “need to be in the world but not of the world, actively engaging the culture with the countercultural gospel of the kingdom.”[7] It is the gospel that changes societies by changing the individual lives that make up societies. One by one, as individuals are saved by faith in Christ and witness is multiplied, culture can be regained. God’s structure is established already, but the direction can be changed and must be changed by all who call upon the name of Christ.

Conclusion

Mankind has been made and continues to be made in the imago Dei. This was God’s gracious plan for humanity. However, sin and death have entered into God’s ‘very good’ creation and destroyed the relationship mankind once had with God. This original sin entered God’s perfect creation through Adam and Eve’s rebellion.

Ever since the fall, Adam and Eve’s progeny has continued the tradition of rebellion as seen in modern culture. Mankind has rebelled against God’s dominion mandate as outlined in the first chapters of Genesis. Mankind has rebelled in his work, leisure, and procreation. Work is sacrificed at the expense of leisure or vice versa. Some see work as a means to an end, while others see work as their god. In procreativity, man has left the natural use of the woman and the woman has left the natural use of the man. Homosexuals have sought unnatural sexual perversions that have contradicted God’s original design of one man and one woman to be fruitful and multiply. This was the rebellion against God’s mandate for dominion.

In addition, pop culture has reared a selfish society bent on finding pleasure in the here and now. It has sought to break ties with the traditional past and has also rebelled against God’s created order. Modern art is proof that society has degraded in this selfish fashion.

Even though Christianity has tried to distance itself from the current cultural climate, all is not lost. What is needed is a Christian worldview. Without a Christian worldview, humanity will see hopelessness and despair. Now, more than ever, Christians need to be redeeming culture as God originally mandated in Genesis. Christians can be the example to take back dominion by redeeming work and leisure, upholding the traditional view of marriage, and by preaching the gospel to a lost and dying world.

Creation can be redeemed and God is calling all Christians to take part in this endeavor in what he started long ago, to create culture. To see culture move in the right direction Christians will need to get involved by spreading the gospel of Christ to create a counter-cultural change. Only then can culture be redeemed for the glory of God and the common good of all mankind.


[1] Bacote, Vincent. The Spirit in Public Theology: Appropriating the Legacy of Abraham Kuyper (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2010), 106.

[2] Ibid. The phrase ‘common grace’ is original to Abraham Kuyper, “the Christian prime minister of the Netherlands in the early twentieth century.” (Pinson, Sexuality, Gender, and the Church, 11). Kuyper believed God bestows ‘common grace’ on all mankind, whether believers or unbelievers as all are made in the imago Dei. ‘Special grace’ is God’s salvific grace given to believers by faith in Christ. See also, Abraham Kuyper, Calvinism: Six Lectures Delivered in the Theological Seminary at Princeton (New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1899). And, Abraham Kuyper, Common Grace: God’s Gifts for a Fallen World: The Historical Section, ed. Jordan J. Ballor, et al., trans. Nelson D. Kloosterman, et al., vol. 1, Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology (Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2015).

[3] Matt 22:37-40. See also Lev 19:18; Matt 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jam 2:8.

[4] Pinson, Sexuality, Gender, and the Church, 5. According to Pinson, “In the early nineteenth century, conservative Protestants had been among the chief influencers in American society. This social leadership came to a halt with the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy.” (p.4)

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid, 11.

[7] Ibid, 13.

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