Just how should Christians engage culture in a post-Christian age? This is the question of mission to the Western world. This brief consideration of the question will begin with H. Richard Niebuhr’s work on this subject and then proceed to three suggestions.
H. Richard Niebuhr and His ‘Christ and Culture’ Paradigms
For over sixty years, now, academics have appealed to or started with the five paradigms of H. Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture to discuss the question of the relation between the Church and culture. Niebuhr thought any one of the paradigms could be derived from Scripture and articulated theologically, but he clearly preferred the ‘Christ transforming option.’ The following chart offers a brief way to represent his categories.
Christ Against Culture
Christ Above Culture
Christ Transforming Culture
Christ and Culture in Paradox
Christ of Culture Church opposes and lives distinct from culture Chur…