Oct 09

Where in the World is the Church? A Christian view of culture and your role in it, by Michael Horton ★★★

Michael Horton, in this book, resurrects discussion going on since 1951 when Richard Niebuhr published the book Christ and Culture. In that book, Niebuhr discusses the various in which Christians have viewed their dynamic with culture. Five different approaches have been categorized by Niebuhr, and Horton latches onto the last, with Christ as the transformer of culture. In successive chapters, Horton explores the Christians’ interaction with philosophy, the arts, science, work, and then politics. Horton offers advice that he need to engage culture, but in a manner that our Christian orientation tends to be the influencing aspect to the culture that we encounter. Such a book as this has been written many times before, with different perspectives on the Christian’s involvement with the world. My frustration with the book is Horton’s avoidance of defining fundamentals. In the sciences, he speaks little of the presuppositional bases that influence how we make observations about the world about us. In the arts, he fails to discuss the possibility that art can be communicating something quite wrong. As an example, Horton would be very cautious about calling pornography art, and would be quite opinionated about such artworks as “Piss Christ”. Francis Schaeffer did a better job of exploring the fundamental philosophy behind any given artwork, whether it be painting, literature, or music. Our engagement with culture mandates discernment. Horton spends much time discussing “Christian” art or “Christian” science, presented by many as though it offered something better than what culture typically gives us. I agree that such overtly Christian art is usually cheap, if not disgusting. Horton calls us as Christians to engage the secular arena in a manner that preserves our Christian base.

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One Response to “Where in the World is the Church”

  1. Onkel Dennis says:

    It sounds as though Horton is one of the leading-edge thinkers of a generation or two ago, one of the thousands hacking at the branches of evil. What is needed are writings from those striking at the root.

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