Can Christians Abandon Culture to Save Souls?

What We Mean by 'Mine'

John stonestreet

Is the mission of the Church dealing with culture, or saving souls?

Here at the Colson Center, you'll hear us repeat a saying that Chuck absolutely loved. In fact, I can think of no statement that better encapsulates what it means to develop and live within a Christian Worldview.

It's from Dutch theologian and statesman Abraham Kuyper: "There is not a single square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry out 'mine!'"

This month I met outside of Washington, D.C., with a group of colleagues to discuss the mission and the work of the Colson Center and BreakPoint. As we got started, Dr. Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School offered a devotional that described why Kuyper's words really do offer a summary of the biblical narrative of creation, fall, and redemption — and our responsibility as Christians in this world.

But there's a misunderstanding of Kuyper that affects how people hear what we often say on BreakPoint and about worldview in general. In fact, I've had people ask me: "Isn't all this talk of 'cultural engagement' really just code for 'culture wars'? Isn't it just another way of saying we want to impose our beliefs and values on other people?"

In fact, after Warren Cole Smith and I released our new book, "Restoring All Things" this summer, we received a few comments accusing us of fifty-cent theological terms like "dominionism" and "reconstructionism." One person even remarked before he'd even read the book that Warren and I were setting Christians up as "useful idiots for a one-world government."

These kinds of reactions aren't all that rare when you start talking about worldview and cultural engagement. When Christians make universal truth claims, especially in this post-Obergefell climate, many inside and outside the church react by telling us to mind our own business. Our job, they say, is to save souls, not restore the world. Or, they might say that the proper scope of God's concern is only the church, and not the culture.

Look, our culture, its institutions, and many of our leaders may be in rebellion against Christ's rule right now, but He gets the final word — not presidents, not dictators, not Hollywood, not the news media, and certainly not the Supreme Court.

In Colossians, Paul calls Christ the One in Whom "all things hold together," and in 1 Corinthians says that through Christ, God is "reconciling all things to Himself." As Christians, we're part of that story, and it's a much bigger story than just the latest political movements or recent cultural trends.

In other words, our work of restoration lies in the here and now because Christ has already overcome the world. Or as theologians like to say, the Kingdom of God is already here — just not yet.

That's why, in the last public speech that Chuck gave, he urged his audience to remember that we never impose Christianity, we lovingly propose it as God's plan of restoration for all things. When Christ, Who is sovereign over all, cries out "Mine!" He's not staking an idle claim. He has joined Himself with creation and human nature to enact restoration. And He's coming back one day to finish the job.

And here's the exciting part: in the meantime, you and I — His Body — get to participate in that work of restoration. Drawing lines around our churches and homes, and saying to our secular neighbors, "You stay on your side, we'll stay on ours," isn't just bad theology. It diminishes Christ's victory and ownership of all of creation.

There is not one square inch of human existence outside of Jesus' jurisdiction because He has taken on human existence Himself to, as we read in Revelation, "make all things new." When our King returns, the "not yet" will become the "already," or as Sam Gamgee put it in one of my favorite lines from "Lord of the Rings," "everything sad [will] become untrue."

So when we talk about Jesus crying out "mine!" even over our present culture, it's because the story found in the Bible is not just our story — it's everybody's story — it's the story of life itself; the story of reality.

This article was originally posted here

From BreakPoint. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint®" and "Prison Fellowship Ministries®" are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship

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