Although generally I consider business travel to be a necessary evil, one benefit is time to read. On the plane, I was finally able to digest Ken Myer’s more-than-just-an-article (51 pp!), “Christianity, Culture, and Common Grace,” which I had been wanting to read ever since Zrim dropped some awesome quotes on us. I have to admit, Z did a good job picking out the best of the best, but I was inspired to offer you some more choice tidbits (the second best of the best?):
Offering a fascinating contrast between opposing prophetic texts Isaiah 2 (“beat swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks”) and Joel 3 (“beat plowshares into swords, and pruning hooks into spears”), Myers concludes that using scripture to justify policy is a two-edged plowshare:
If it is legitimate for the American Friends Service Committee or Physicians for Social Responsibility to cite Isaiah 2 for its cause, then it is legitimate for Ollie North or the Defense Department to cite Joel 3 for its cause. Both applications of the text are equally bad.
Citing Isaiah 2 to advise American foreign policy is just as problematic as citing the book of Leviticus to guide American domestic policy, as the Reconstructionists do. Both sides eliminate the context of the Scriptures in an attempt to have a Christian perspective on a cultural matter.
Some of my favorite quotes were very short, such as “Meredith Kline observes,” “Kline writes elsewhere,” “As Kline puts it,” “Kline notes,” etc., etc. You can tell that Myers is a big fan of Kingdom Prologue. One detail of KP that Myers endorses, is the concept that the “cultural mandate” changed in nature due to the Fall:
For man as originally created, there was no separation between his culture and his loving worship of his Lord. Culture and religious duty were one. All cultural activity was self-consciously pursued as an act of loving obedience. Not only the internal attitude of man in these activities, but the invention of the very cultural structures themselves was bound to be a deliberate act of service to the Creator. Just as God’s will and creative word called real planets and trees and birds and fish into being, so man’s will and intellect would effect the establishment of real art and science and agriculture and social structures. This was the sort of wholism and unity many of us long for: no shadow between culture and devotion.
But then the Fall occurred.
…With the fall and the curse, culture no longer had the holy quality it had in the garden. … It is most certainly not the mandate for all humanity to be struggling to build a holy community or commonwealth. Not even the people of God in our epoch of redemptive history are called to create a holy culture. The gospel is no longer bound to a particular culture or to a geopolitical institution.
There’s much, much more; I think I’ll continue this as a series with one or two more posts. In the meantime, just in case you’re confused about Myers’ position on Christian Reconstructionism, I’ll leave you with this:
As you should have guessed by now, I am in extreme disagreement, for biblical reasons, with those who believe there are biblical blueprints for everything from monetary standards to foreign policy to welfare reform to music.
Continue on to part 2…