Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tim Keller on Christians and culture

Rather note-like format - I suspect this is part of a delivered talk, rather than a written article.
We must not form:
  • a sub-culture in which we externally dress and talk (dialect) differently avoid certain gross behaviors, but internally we have the same values as the surrounding culture. (E.g. believers may not smoke or drink too much or have sex outside of marriage, yet in their core beings they may be as materialistic and individualistic, and status- or image-conscious as the society around.)
  • an anti-culture in which Christians feel highly polluted by the very presence of the unbelieving schools, entertainment, arts, and culture. In this model they feel they cannot really function in the society without getting the cultural power back through legislation and storming institutions directly.
  • a para-culture expecting a miraculous, sweeping intervention by God which will convert many or most individuals and explosively transform the culture. Instead of becoming deeply engaged with the society and people around them, working with others as co-citizens to deal with the troubles and problems, believers concentrate completely on evangelism and discipleship building up the church and their own numbers.

  • Rather we should form a counter-culture. This is the reverse of a 'sub-culture' - we are to be externally quite like the surrounding culture (positive toward and conversant with it), without 'jargon' and other Christian trappings - yet in worldview, values, and lifestyle, they demonstrate chastity, simplicity, humility and self-sacrifice. They are quite different in the way they understand money, relationships, human life, sex, and so on. Hananiah is an example of the 'para-culture' in Jeremiah 28; Jeremiah is a proponent of the 'counter-culture' in Jeremiah 29.