The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Monday, October 23, 2006
Skillen on Culture
Bill Edgar recently hosted a conference at Westminster Seminary on for his Gospel and Culture Project titled "Biblical Matters: Biblical Reflections on ‘Going Global’" One of the speakers was James Skillen, who made the following observation:

Recent Christian youth movements have issued a call to “redeem the culture.” As well-intentioned as this is, it is not really the call of Christ. It is not us redeeming culture and then offering it up to Christ as our gift to him, but rather our recognition that we are but servants of the Christ who judges and who himself redeems, not just our culture, but every culture of the world. We serve his kingdom, wherever we do so, as humble, repentant sinners, people who live out of deep gratitude. There is no shortcut to the redemption of all things. No political party, no economic plan, can bring it about. Neither is there a shortcut to global Christian unity. We must see ourselves neither as Americans first nor as anti-American, but rather first always as Christ’s disciples, ambassadors to all the world.

I agree with Skillen up to a point. We need to avoid provicialism of all forms as we approach culture-making. Our ultimate allegiance is to Christ. We also need to see that culture is a global mission. The is the upshot of Genesis 1:28ff. We fill the earth and we rule and develop the whole of it.

But do we really have a problem of being too focused on national matters? Are we focussed too much on American cultural ideas? Maybe so. Our vision can be too limited. But the antidote to the problem of nationalism is not globalism. Rather we need to focus on local development. We need to meet the needs of those who are in our immediate community - whereever in the world that might be. If we establish Christian culture in the local scene, we can expect the spillover to bless the nation and even the world.