Bruce purpose for this book was aiming to equip Christians to think holistically about how the gospel informs everything we do in the world. For the most part I thought he did a good job at this. Right out of the gate he talks about a few different world views regarding Christians and culture.
I thought he could have done a better job defining culture. He states that:
"Culture" is anything that humans produce when they interact with each other and with God's creation.Maybe I can spend some time coming up with my own way of defining culture. He does a better job at putting feet to his concept. He than gets into some differing world views regarding culture.
1) "Christianity against culture" where Christians can tend to view the church as a bomb shelter. In this world view the church seeks to escape the world and wall out godlessness. The problem though is that godlessness is a disease of the soul. One that man made walls can't keep out.
Another world view of "Christianity against culture" is where Christians view the church primarily as an ultimate fighter. Here, instead of escaping the go out into the surrounding culture to assault it with lethal force. The fault of this view is that everything is war.
2) "Christianity of Culture" where Christians seek to incorporate the dominant culture seamlessly into their lives and churches. This mentality fails to take into account that every culture and every aspect of culture is corrupted and distorted because of human sin.
3) "Christianity in and for Culture" where Christians are human beings as representatives of Christ who live their lives in the midst of and for the good of their cultural context. We trust a God who has enabled all people - Christian or not - to make good and valuable contributions in the cultural realm.
The BIG THOUGHT of the book:
Christians should try to discern the way in which any cultural reality is corrupted and misdirected by sin and idolatry, and then seek to redirect that reality toward Christ. We do this as a matter of obedience and witness, proclaiming Christ with our lips and promoting him with our lives, in the hope that we can serve as a preview of his coming kingdom. pg. 24Some favorite quotes from the book:
Nothing in this universe escapes his [Jesus Christ] lordship. And if his lordship is as wide as creation, then our obedience to his lordship must be as wide as culture. pg. 19
Every dimension of culture, whether it is art, science, or politics, is an arena in which we can speak about Christ with our lips and reflect him with our lives. pg. 19
We must live Christianly not only as the Church gathered on Sunday morning for worship, but also as the Church scattered into the world in our work, leisure, and community life. pg. 20
Every cultural activity is an opportunity to practice discipleship, to employ words and deeds in Christ's service, to orient our lives toward Christ. pg. 132Overall it is a great resource. Bruce goes out of his way to list many recommendations for each arena of life. He is very passionate in helping all Christians take serious their interactions in the arts, the sciences, the public square, the academy, and into all of God's creation. He certainly wet my appetite for more Francis A. Schaeffer and Abraham Kuyper. This book will help change how you view this world and culture and it will help you walk worthy our Lord Jesus who is Lord of all!