The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Monday, August 22, 2005
Read it and Weep - I
A series of quotes from culturally pessimistic [gnostic] reformed folk.

Entry #1 is from Mark Karlburg's Covenant Theology in Reformed Perspective (from a book review of Antony Hoekema's Created in God's Image):

Hoekema proposes as another feature of man’s sanctification the development of a distinctively Christian culture (pp. 94-95, 201-2). He suggests that “the best contributions of each nation will enrich life on the new earth, and that whatever potentialities and gifts have been of value in this present life will somehow, in some way, be retained and enriched in the life to come. This implies that there will be continuity as well as discontinuity between the present life and the life to come, and that therefore our cultural, scientific, educational, and political endeavors today help to prepare for a fuller and richer life on the new earth” (pp. 94-95). It is not so certain, however, that this vision reflects the teaching of Scripture. Does not the radical and supernatural inbreaking of the Consummation necessitate the destruction of man’s cultural achievements (despite the fact that these cultural and technological pursuits are legitimate and necessary activities in the present course of history - activities deriving from the obligation placed upon the human race at creation [the cultural mandate], and made possible after the Fall through God’s operation of common grace)? How can we explain the fact that God has providentially entrusted the ungodly line with cultural development and advancement, whereas the godly line has been entrusted with the far more glorious ministry of reconciliation through the preaching of the gospel of salvation (cf. Gen 4:17-22; 2 Cor 5:18-19)? Are we justified in thinking that the works of the unrighteous will follow after them in the eternal kingdom while they themselves burn in hell-fire? In comparison, are the few and feeble (cultural) offerings of the saints to be transformed in the heavenly kingdom - a kingdom not made by human hands? Rather than speculate upon the enduring value of culture (which, as I read Scripture, will pass away), ought we not to glory in God alone?