Contexualization and Christian Worldview

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Contextualization of Christian Worldview: Christ and Culture: Niebuhr vs. Yoder Introduction The next two modules address key issues in attempting to be in yet not of the world in the exercise of Christian discipleship in secular societies and cultures. The context of the discussion revolves around H. Richard Niebuhr's articulation of and responses to the challenges of balancing Christ and Culture. What Niebuhr called the "enduring problem" is perhaps more pronounced than ever before in these days of great diversity and increased interactions and conflicts of postmodern global cultures. The problem is involved in relations between loyalties to Christ and culture, church and state, faith and reason...[and] how the assumptions, values, perceptions, and understandings of society penetrate us and influence our understanding of who Christ is, what it means to follow him, and what the mission of the church is. (Stassen, Yeager, & Yoder, 1996, p. 10) Module 4 consists of a clear presentation of the teleological ethical perspective of Niebuhr, as well as his classical typology (and examples from church history) of distinct responses to the enduring problem of how Christians can or should live in a fallen world. This is followed by a thorough analysis and critique of Niehbuhr's model by John Howard Yoder. The Basics of Christ and Culture Briefly, Niebuhr's five types of Christian ethics as noted by Stassen et al. (1996) include the following: · New Law (Christ Against Culture) portrays Christians as a totally new kind of people living by totally new ethical standards at odds with all foundational aspects of worldly cultures. · Natural Law (Christ of Culture) portrays Christians as seeking to accommodate the ethics and values of the Gospel to bring out the very best in existing but imperfect cultures. · Architectonic
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