Contra Mundum
© Contra Mundum 1991-2022
About Contra Mundum, a study of the conditions of Christian culture.

About

Who speaks for Christian culture?

Every strong theological tradition has its view of the relation of Christianity to culture, or of the independence of Christianity from culture. In particular the Reformed branch of theology early evolved a strong view of the topic. Today there are many conflicting schools of thought each claiming to be the Reformed view. The non-Lutheran reformers themselves were trained in and held to the Via Antiqua, most being Aristotelians with Calvin apparently influenced by Duns Scotus. In politics the best claim to represent the Reformed view would be that of Johannes Althusius in his Politics, or some British Puritans. The problem is that almost no one holds the view today; even the Confessions have been altered to remove it. Probably the closest would be the perspectives at Wordbridge Publishing. Instead we have: 1) The older form of the two kingdom doctrine, emphasizing the separation of the institutions of church and state that Philip Schaff called “the American idea of religious liberty”. “It is a free church in a free state, or a self-supporting and self-governing Christianity in independent but friendly relation to civil government.” 2) Dutch neocalvinism, or Kuyperianism, that sees all the social order, even culture, as composed of independent spheres each with its own norms and authority. 3) Late neocalvinism or the Reformational philosophy, that introduces a radical disjunction between the created order, including culture, and God, who is beyond being, logic, meaning, etc. 4) The theonomic-presuppositional view, evolving out of neocalvinism, which preserves one side of the original Reformed position with its emphasis on divine norms and even theonomy in some cases, while falsifying the philosophical foundation of Reformed theology in favor of Karl Barth’s anti- Thomist version of history. Presuppositional foundationalism becomes the Reformed philosophy. 5) The Radical Two Kingdom theology with natural law, which highlights the Reformers’ Aristotelianism, but falsifies their their view of the social order and the role of God’s law. While the Radical Two Kingdom theology coming out of the seminaries seems to be dominant in the Reformed church establishment, there are outsiders, increasingly Baptists, who are attracted by the theonomic-presuppositional view, though the limitations imposed by their theology and ecclesiology prevents them taking this too far toward the position of Althusius. Reformed churches always forbade the theater, and if we consider how many weekly hours today’s Christians spend with the theater’s descendants, movies and television, is it apparent how remote they are from the old Reformed idea of legitimate culture. The view of work is also different. Early Reformed and Puritan writers held that those who do not put in a good six days of labor every week are thieves who are robbing their community of production that they owe it. It seems clear that can be no going back to the past. On these pages are essays representing a variety of perspectives on Christianity and Culture: its theology and history. Contra Mundum is not related to any institution, foundation, church or commercial entity. Opinions expressed by the writers are solely their own and may be and sometimes are contrary those of the editors. contramundum@contra-mundum.org castellano@contra-mundum.org
The problem of the relation between Christ and culture immediately concerns the fundamental questions of Christian thought and action. Therefore a Christian must continually contend with it. The one who does not touch it neglects his direct calling. — Klaas Schilder To say that culture is man's calling in the covenant is only another way of saying that culture is religiously determined. — Henry R. Van Til
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About

Who speaks for Christian culture?

Every strong theological tradition has its view of the relation of Christianity to culture, or of the independence of Christianity from culture. In particular the Reformed branch of theology early evolved a strong view of the topic. Today there are many conflicting schools of thought each claiming to be the Reformed view. The non-Lutheran reformers themselves were trained in and held to the Via Antiqua, most being Aristotelians with Calvin apparently influenced by Duns Scotus. In politics the best claim to represent the Reformed view would be that of Johannes Althusius in his Politics, or some British Puritans. The problem is that almost no one holds the view today; even the Confessions have been altered to remove it. Probably the closest would be the perspectives at Wordbridge Publishing. Instead we have: 1) The older form of the two kingdom doctrine, emphasizing the separation of the institutions of church and state that Philip Schaff called “the American idea of religious liberty”. “It is a free church in a free state, or a self-supporting and self- governing Christianity in independent but friendly relation to civil government.” 2) Dutch neocalvinism, or Kuyperianism, that sees all the social order, even culture, as composed of independent spheres each with its own norms and authority. 3) Late neocalvinism or the Reformational philosophy, that introduces a radical disjunction between the created order, including culture, and God, who is beyond being, logic, meaning, etc. 4) The theonomic-presuppositional view, evolving out of neocalvinism, which preserves one side of the original Reformed position with its emphasis on divine norms and even theonomy in some cases, while falsifying the philosophical foundation of Reformed theology in favor of Karl Barth’s anti- Thomist version of history. Presuppositional foundationalism becomes the Reformed philosophy. 5) The Radical Two Kingdom theology with natural law, which highlights the Reformers’ Aristotelianism, but falsifies their their view of the social order and the role of God’s law. While the Radical Two Kingdom theology coming out of the seminaries seems to be dominant in the Reformed church establishment, there are outsiders, increasingly Baptists, who are attracted by the theonomic-presuppositional view, though the limitations imposed by their theology and ecclesiology prevents them taking this too far toward the position of Althusius. Reformed churches always forbade the theater, and if we consider how many weekly hours today’s Christians spend with the theater’s descendants, movies and television, is it apparent how remote they are from the old Reformed idea of legitimate culture. The view of work is also different. Early Reformed and Puritan writers held that those who do not put in a good six days of labor every week are thieves who are robbing their community of production that they owe it. It seems clear that can be no going back to the past. On these pages are essays representing a variety of perspectives on Christianity and Culture: its theology and history. Contra Mundum is not related to any institution, foundation, church or commercial entity. Opinions expressed by the writers are solely their own and may be and sometimes are contrary those of the editors. contramundum@contra-mundum.org castellano@contra-mundum.org
About Contra Mundum, a study of the conditions of Christian culture.