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For the Sake of Argument…

Let’s imagine that culture does not refer to anything and everything that people say and do. Let’s imagine culture is that secondary environment that incarnates an explanation of reality, emerging from a particular religion, uniting people in a particular place. Let’s imagine that, with this as a working definition, culture provided people with at least four things:

1) an ideational language, 2) aesthetic consensus, 3) informed sentiment, and 4) a grid for knowledge.

Let’s then consider the landscape of evangelicalism and fundamentalism and test it for some semblance of consensus in rhetoric, aesthetics, sentiment and general interpretations. Conversely, let’s look at secularism, and behold its eclectic collection of competing sentiments, contradictory notions, unchallenged assumptions, and vague platitudes. Given that, which does fundagelicalism resemble?

Christopher Dawson said this of secularism: “For the new scientific culture is devoid of all positive spiritual content. It is an immense complex of techniques and specialisms without a guiding spirit, with no basis of common moral values, with no unifying spiritual aim…A culture of this kind is no culture at all in the traditional sense – that is to say it is not an order which integrates every side of human life in a living spiritual community.” (Religion and Culture, NY: Meridian, 1958, 214).

What would a Christianity without culture look like?

David de Bruyn

About David de Bruyn

David de Bruyn currently pastors New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since 1999, he has presented a weekly radio program that is heard throughout much of central South Africa. He also blogs at Churches Without Chests.

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