By Duane K. Friesen
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Extra resources for Artists, Citizens, Philosophers: Seeking the Peace of the City : An Anabaptist Theology of Culture
The “Christ of culture” type is even more problematic for Niebuhr because it represents those who accommodate completely to culture. Niebuhr thus set up the problem such that the only viable options are the remaining three types. These types are better because they seek to relate both poles, Christ and culture. 19 The problem is with definition. How should one begin? Instead of beginning with a definition of “Christ” as an ideal in opposition to culture, I believe we must begin with a definition of an embodied Christology, one that places Christ in the context of his Jewish culture in first-century Palestine.
They did this not by helping Nebuchadnezzar run Babylon more humanely. 28 The Epistle to Diognetus, then, particularly fits a church that lives as a minority in the world, a church that is in a “missionary” context. It fits a church that experiences the good news of the gospel in conflict with the surrounding culture. It is a church with a message, a sense of mission that calls for the renewal and transformation of the surrounding culture. It looks back to the loss of Hebraic roots in Neoplatonic metaphysics in the second and third centuries and Constantinian synthesis of church and culture in the fourth and fifth centuries as an era that must come to an end.
Alternative worlds of meaning were a threat to Christendom. Jews were gradually “marked” as alien and expelled from many territories within Christendom. ” Islam posed an external threat in the sixteenth century as the Turks knocked at the doors of Vienna. Within the church itself, beginning particularly in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, reform movements posed a threat to a unified Christian culture. When infant baptism, the fundamental ritual of cultural solidarity, was challenged in the sixteenth century, all of Christendom (both its Catholic and Protestant forms) engaged in a massive effort to repress all dissent.
Artists, Citizens, Philosophers: Seeking the Peace of the City : An Anabaptist Theology of Culture by Duane K. Friesen