Thursday, December 01, 2011

Transformationalism - Culture Making

So, as I continue to try and digest this Two Kingdom vs. Transformationalism debate, I need to read more than just Dr. Zylstra. It is not really fair to read full books about Two Kingdom Theology and then read only articles about transformationalism. Although finding books directly about Transformationalism is harder than I thought it would be. It is often assumed, but not defended. I know lots of people who are transformationalists, but they don't write directly about it. Those who have are best avoided such as Doug Wilson, Peter Leithart, N.T. Wright, and others. Avoided not because I couldn't learn from them, but because it fits too nicely into VanDrunene's thesis that Transformationalism leads to unorthodox thinking with regards to Justification by faith.

So, I tried to find an orthodox source. I settled on Andy Crouch's book: Culture Making. He has a blog by the same name, but I won't be talking about anything on the blog, just the book.

Crouch's first section is actually very good. Crouch begins by just laying the ground work before getting into the Bible and such. So he has a rather good discussion about culture and its nature. Crouch defines culture as making something out of the world. Now that is a little bit different than VanDrunen's rather broad definition. Thus, a comparison might be difficult because of differing views of what culture actually is. For instance, VanDrunen clearly believes marriage part of culture, but does that fit into Crouch's definition? I am not sure. That is a problem for later.

What is so great about Crouch's opening is that he argues rather well that culture has to be made or replaced by something new, rather than simply criticized. He actually criticizes Schaeffer and newer writers such as Nancy Pearcy for simply intellectually taking on culture. He uses an example of Tuesday night Chili night at his house. His boys can whine, complain, critique, and even argue against it; however, none of that will change Tuesday chili night. But if the boys were to make their own food and serve it to the parents every Tuesday before the Chili could be made, that would be well received and would change Chili night. He goes a lot deeper than that, but often uses easy to understand examples. He criticizes other methods of engaging culture including boycotts and sub-cultures and it is really very well done. Crouch is a good writer and a pretty easy read.

It takes a couple of chapters of this introductory stuff before Crouch switches over to Scripture. But he leaves you with the sense that culture is being made, and it cannot be stopped. People must do culture. it is part of being human. He has laid the groundwork for his argument. In the next post I will get into his biblical overview of Christians and Culture.