Niebuhr, Christ & Culture and Evangelism

Chances are, if you've been through Bible College, Seminary or have taken some kind of Christian Ethics course, you've read or at least heard of Richard Niebhur's famous Christ & Culture book. I think that Niebhur's 5 points are still highly relevant and important for dicussions concering things like evangelism and its relationship to Christianity today. He talked about 5 models or ways that Christians often looked at the world:

1. Christ against culture (e.g. Church versus the world, trying to "save" the world; tend to be exclusivist)

2. Christ of culture (e.g. How the Spirit has worked throughout history; tend to be a culturalist)

3. Christ above culture (e.g. History is preparing us for God's reign; tend to be a synthesist)

4. Christ & Culture in Paradox (e.g. History is tension / "already not yet"; tend to be dualistic)

5. Christ Transforming Culture (e.g. Focus on the present and how God is working in it and what He wants us to do; tend to have a conversionist mentality)

Which way do you view things? Or, do you have a different lens that you see things through?


  1. sadly, I hadn't heard of it during my time at seminary util I learned of Carson's book respondin to Niebuhr.

  2. I've been thinking (and blogging) about this same thing for years. I don't think Niebuhr came up with any one answer but the better way to ask the question is when are we called to be one position and when are we called to another position.