Christianity's role in culture has been debated since the beginning of the faith. As Christians we wrestle with how our faith should impact our lives—whether in the careers we pursue, the entertainment we choose, or the political views we hold.
Recent books and scholars have argued for a framework of cultural redemption, suggesting that it is the job of Christians to redeem cultural activity and institutions to bring about the Kingdom of God. In his new book Living in God's Two Kingdoms, David VanDrunen suggests an alternative "two kingdoms" model for cultural engagement.
His model affirms that:
- Sin corrupts all areas of life
- Christians should be active in all areas of life
- All lawful vocations are honorable
- Christians are accountable to God in all areas of life
But according to VanDrunen, the redemptive approach to culture needs to be evaluated carefully. "In short, Scripture requires a high view of creation and of cultural activity, but it also requires a distinction between the holy things of Christ's heavenly kingdom and the common things of the present world," VanDrunen explains.
Throughout the book, VanDrunen examines the two-kingdoms doctrine in the context of human culture in the biblical story, including the two separate covenants God made with Noah and Abraham respectively.
- Covenant with Noah: God enters covenantal relationship with the entire human race, promising to preserve cultural activities such as procreation and justice.
- Covenant with Abraham: God enters covenantal relationship with a chosen people, bestowing them with salvation and distinguishing them from the rest of humanity.
God's people are called to live in two kingdoms simultaneously. Under the first, we are called to partake in various cultural activities and pursuits with our non-Christian neighbors. Under the second, we are called to live within the covenant of salvation, recognizing that we are a chosen people and should live distinctly different.
VanDrunen's book explores how Christians are called to live in this tricky tension and balance our lives accordingly.