Aug 12, 2021

Worldview and Culture

3 Min Read


The intersection of worldview and culture has concerned Christians throughout history. In various ways, believers have asked, How should Christians interact with culture? and How should the biblical worldview be applied in culture? The goal in asking these questions should be to develop a well-informed biblical view of the most important questions of human existence so that in answering them we remain faithful to Christ in any culture.


When it comes to approaching the culture and its philosophies, some parameters from the Scriptures are clear. First, sin is a boundary line Christians may not cross. When engaging with culture, Christians must never do something that God forbids or fail to do something that God commands.

Second, the Christian church must keep its identity distinct from the world. Any version of Christianity, for example, that is not exportable to another country in its essential form because it is too nationalistic will not fit the biblical description of a church called to preach the good news to all people groups. The issue is deeply complicated, however, because certain cultural features, such as the local indigenous language, must be a feature of every local church. Humility and submission to Scripture have paramount importance in the discussion, since both compromise with culture and a withdrawal from the world are the two extremes which must be rejected. The proper biblical balance is that Christians are “in the world, but not of it” (see John 17:14–16).

The visible Christian community has applied—or not applied—these two foundational principles in a variety of different ways. H. Richard Niebuhr gave perhaps the most well-known descriptions of various views Christians have had with regard to the culture. Among these, two views held commonly today among Bible-believing Christians are “Christ against culture” (no interaction between Christianity and culture at all, or only judgment if there is) and “Christ transforming culture” (Christianity’s job is to engage culture with a view to changing it). Alternatively, the “Christ of culture” view is most commonly held by professing Christians who have a low view of the Bible’s authority and doubt its ability to change lives. According to this view, Christianity’s job is to embrace culture without much in the way of critical interaction. “Christ above culture” sees culture as a way of preparation for the gospel] that says culture can lead people to become seekers after Christ. The last view is “Christ and culture in paradox,” which sees Christ and culture in an ongoing tension that allows us to accept some elements of the culture but not others.

There are pitfalls with all of these views, and sometimes we may adopt a particular view depending on our context. Living faithful Christian lives in any culture is no easy task. It requires biblical wisdom and discernment while living in a complex world. Christians should be aware of the questions that a given culture is asking, but it must take care to offer robust biblical answers to those questions. A thorough understanding of the Bible and Christian theology, as well as knowledge of the philosophical questions addressed by Scripture, can help us develop a worldview and Christian practice that will help us to remain faithful in any culture.


Our lives say much more about how we think than our books do. The theories we preach are not always the ones we actually believe. The theories we live are the ones we really believe.

R.C. Sproul


I’ve often wondered where Jesus would apply His hastily made whip if He were to visit our culture. My guess is that it would not be money-changing tables in the temple that would feel His wrath, but the display racks in Christian bookstores.

R.C. Sproul


Truth is permanent, fixed, and established. It is inflexible, unvarying, constant, lasting, enduring, timeless, unchanging. Therefore, truth is always relevant. It is always current, always contemporary, always relevant. Truth addresses the issues of the day with penetrating insight. It is never outdated, never obsolete, never expired. Truth never tires, never wanes, never ceases to be true.

Steven J. Lawson

What Is Truth?

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