Christ and Culture: Introductory Remarks

This is part one of a new series entitled Christ and Culture. Four men participate in an engaging discussion on the relationship of Christ to culture. Bill Dennison, Darryl Hart, Doug Wilson and Nelson Kloosterman each speak from their unique perspectives.

This project is an asynchronous debate in the vein of the Four Views on… books published by InterVarsity Press. We recorded each participant independently over the course of three rounds – swapping recordings to the other participants between each round.

This series of programs strays from the typical Christ the Center format. The listener should be aware that this is a debate and should not be seen as an endorsement for any particular speaker. Please be advised that future episodes each participant will criticize the other views.

In the first round, we asked a series of questions under the following headings.

  • General/Introductory
  • Politics
  • Vocation
  • Education
  • Fine Arts, Etc.
  • Theological Undercurrents
    • Common Grace
    • Natural Law
    • Eschatology
  • Conclusion

This introductory episode includes each participant’s opening and closing comments. The entire series is conveniently grouped under one page.

Books and other media from the participants

Bill Dennison

Darryl Hart

Nelson Kloosterman

Doug Wilson

Participants: , , , ,


Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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Joe Coker

9 years ago

Why would you guys have anything to do with Doug Wilson?

Benj

9 years ago

Joe, why would you even ask why Camden et al would have Douglas Wilson on the show? It’s disappointing that Camden has to defend their decision to invite distinguisted guests with whom they disagree on some issues.

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

Joe,

During the late 20th c. the Reformed tradition had a strong influence of theonomic and reconstructionist thought. While that camp’s numbers may be waning, their arguments on the subject of Christ and culture persist. In order to provide a faithful and responsible representation of Reformed views for this discussion, we looked for someone with sympathies in this direction. As you will hear, Pastor Wilson fits this description. Moreover, he has written extensively on this subject and many people are familiar with his name in this space. We felt it would be a disservice to the listener if we did not expand the project to include this position.

That being said, please understand that this project is not a wholesale endorsement of any of the participants.

Jason D.

9 years ago

Great idea for the show (I head about this on one of your live broadcast and couldn’t wait). Thanks for putting this all together.

By way of constructive criticism, I like the music between each speaker however some of them were WAY too long (particularly the musical break between the 21-22 minute mark and the 31-32 minute mark [over a minute!]) just saying… all the other short musical interludes were very nice though.

soli Deo gloria!

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

I thought they were a little long too. I’ll keep that in mind for future episodes.

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

Let me counter with another perspective. There aren’t any ads and you can always fastforward! Traditional radio is 1/3 advertisement. “Just saying…” 🙂

Nicholas T. Batzig

9 years ago

We aren’t endorsing all four views? I thought we were more postmodern than that Camden!!!

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

Jason,

I trimmed about 3.5 minutes. It should flow a bit better now. Thanks for confirming my suspicion.

Nicholas T. Batzig

9 years ago

Joe,

Just to be clear, none of the guys on the Forum agree with Doug Wilson’s view here, and certainly not on the FV view of Covenant Theology.

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

That isn’t true for everything he says, however. Wilson makes many great points throughout this entire project.

Jim Cassidy

9 years ago

Camden,

Great job on this show!

I do find it sad, however, that this comment list has become about having Wilson on the show and no substantial discussion on the issues themselves has taken place.

That said, who do you guys think had the best definition of culture? I thought Kloosterman nailed it. The problem with Wilson’s definition is that it doesn’t allow for a common square. You have believing and unbelieving cultures. Well, what about the public square . . . what is that? Is that not a culture of common grace?

I think that Hart’s definition allows the most for a common grace public square. I don’t need, on his view, to start a Christian counter culture where I make Reformed boots or silverware or whatever. I can work in a boot making factory with a bunch of unbelievers and be salt and light there by working ethically and diligently. Ironically, Hart’s position may provide for the best way of doing gospel outreach. All the others seem to separate Christians out from the common grace public square.

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

I found each of the responses throughout these recordings fascinating. Through three rounds of this now (for me at least) I’ve found myself agreeing with different aspects from each man.

Richard

9 years ago

Sounds very interesting, I am looking forward to listening to it.

Jason Hayes

9 years ago

Over at Feeding on Christ several days ago Nick posted a concern with Tim Keller hosting N.T.Wright; and I applaud him for at least raising the question as to why would we have someone with heretical views along side of us. SO if someone posts a comment to this show about Doug Wilson…why is that not a reasonable concern? Honestly when I came to download the show and saw who were the four guests, I shook my head in displeasure of seeing D.Wilson there. I haven’t listened yet and look forward to doing so, but I think there can be a problem of hosting men with very dangerous views. You might be able to discern from their errors but many can’t, and it seems to many as being aligned with such men is a endorsement of them. Look at all the buzz right now over the Piper/Warren endorsement. I know you might not be endorsing Wilson but in many ways you are so this kind of blurs the lines. What do think? Am I out in left field or is there some validity to my argument? I think there are so many great Reformed thinkers out there for you guys to tap into, and plenty with orthodox views! Just a word of encouragement. Love the show.

Nicholas T. Batzig

9 years ago

Jason,

I appreciate your comment, but I have to point out that having one questionable man lecture at your church center for faith and works, and having a four views panel by a non-profit Reformed network is very different.

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

Jason,

I don’t think you’re out in left field. I had the same thought regarding the discussion of Redeemer and Wright. There is a slight difference, however. This is a debate, not a lecture. Furthermore, we’re speaking to Wilson on the subject of Christ and culture and not, for instance, justification. When you listen, I hope you find Wilson’s contribution as worthwhile as I did.

Jim Cassidy

9 years ago

I might only add that our record at Reformed Forum is very clear as to where we stand on the Federal Vision.

Let’s say we wanted to do a show on the various views of cessationism. Would it be wrong to have someone like Wayne Grudem on our show? What about on millennial views? Would it be wrong to have John MacArthur on? The issue of having extra biblical revelation for the church today is almost – if not more so – dangerous than Wilson’s aberrant views of justification.

Ross

9 years ago

I’m really excited about this idea. You guys have put together yet another informative, edifying and helpful project. My Ipod remains ever grateful for the Reformed Forum.

SDG

Ross M.

Tim H.

9 years ago

Camden et al.,

Thank you, thank you for putting all the work into this! I’m enjoyed this one and eagerly look forward to the followups. Various and sundry comments:

1) I really appreciated the musical interludes! They give the mind a little break to process what has been heard. That’s fantastic.

2) I thought everyone’s introductory comments were interesting. However, I’m fairly familiar with this discussion and it’s categories. I fear that someone who hasn’t thought about it much might be lost. My guess is that the introductions will be good to return to after hearing the participants discussion.

3) It’s already clear that one of the things that makes this discussion so difficult is that the definitions are so hard to nail down and the positions intertwine so easily. Dr. Hart and Dr. Dennison both attack transformationalism but offer different solutions. Dr. Hart says “salt and light” is vocation, Dr. Wilson says “salt and light” is worship! And nobody can quite articulate what culture is!

4) I think Dr. Kloosterman already won from the outset. He abstained from putting himself into a category then promptly went to talking about Jesus! All those other guys just talked about human wisdom. Dr. Kloosterman went to the source! (I jest.)

Thanks again.

Maranatha!

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

I was amused at the differing definitions too. It just goes to show how slippery the term can be.

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

Given the nature of some of the comments, for everyone’s benefit, I think I should remind people that we have dealt with the Federal Vision in a previous episode of Christ the Center. http://reformedforum.wpengine.com/ctc23/

Tim H.

9 years ago

But out of curiosity, do you think it’s out of line for Wright to lecture (not on justification) at a Redeemer affiliated ministry if Redeemer makes clear they don’t agree with him on justification?

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

Tim,

That’s a good question. Let me simply say that Redeemer is a church. I think different standards and responsibilities are in place.

Jared

9 years ago

Genetic Fallacy – “The alleged mistake of arguing that something is to be rejected because of its suspicious origins. More widely, any mistake of inferring something about the nature of some topic from a proposition about its origins.”

Can we move on to the content now that we’ve discussed its origin?

Bob McDowell

9 years ago

Having Wilson’s views presented is helpful.

My disappointment is that someone with Wilson’s views on justification would be classified as “reformed’.

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

His views on Christ and culture are representative of a subset of reformed thinking. While I don’t agree with them, he’s representing a part of the reformed tradition – especially in the late 20th c.

Andy A.

9 years ago

Camden,

Thanks for this helpful discussion / debate! I agree that the discussion is not easy because terms and concepts are somewhat elastic. However, I thought the panelists did a good job getting things started. I am excited to hear each of them and am not rooting for anyone in particular. In the end, I am hoping that I have a better sense of what I believe about culture and my involvement in it. Several names get thrown around a lot in these introductions, so it might be a bit daunting for those not initiated into this debate.

Nicholas T. Batzig

9 years ago

I am wondering if any of the men who have raised concerns about our having Doug Wilson have read any of his books. If so, how is that any different from having him present his views in debate/dialogue with three other positions?

Stephen L.

9 years ago

I’d never heard of Dr. Kloosterman, but I found myself agreeing most with him. His view of the “salt and light” function of the church sounds like Newbigin i.e., that the church exists not for its members but for the world, that she is “sign” and “foretaste” of the kingdom, and that local congregations are the most effective “hermeneutic of the gospel.”

Looking forward to future episodes!

Benjamin P. Glaser

9 years ago

Of course it should be noted that Dr. Wilson does not and would not really categorize himself with the Rushdoony/Bahnsen-side of Reformed thinking on this subject (which ironically is heavily anti-FV, c.f.- Joe Morecraft and the RPCUS). While he is certainly closer to that that sub-group of Reformed thinking I would not classify him in with the Christian Reconstructionists or the Theonomists.

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

Great point.

Jim Cassidy

9 years ago

Hi Stephen,

I think you may have misunderstood Kloosterman. I don’t think he would be comfortable with the dichotomy of existing for itself v. existing for the world. In fact, I would argue, the emphasis in the Bible is on the covenant community’s obligations to itself first. And so, in fulfilling its obligations to itself first, it bears witness to the world. To reverse that order or emphasis is the mistake of the church growth movement and its postmodern counterpart, the emergent church.

Forum on Christ and Culture | joelws.com

9 years ago

[…] Christ and culture, particularly with regard to politics and war, but for now, check out the first (Introductory Remarks) and second (Politics) installments.  Contributors include Douglas Wilson, Darryl Hart, Bill […]

AJF

9 years ago

Very helpful program and want to encourage you to get the best to speak on each topic you discuss as you have done here.

Reformed theology has been big enough to learn from those they disagree with. We need to engage with those we do not 100% agree.

Tom Schreiner is a good example and his participation with NT Wright later this year.

Reformed theology must not be allowed to fall into sectarianism.

Alan

AUDIO: Christ and Culture (debate) « gospel muse:

9 years ago

[…] Christ and Culture: Introductory Remarks Published in: […]

Reformation Forum « The Confessional Outhouse

8 years ago

[…] (like me) you hardly know where to start listening, you might want to check out this innovative series on Christ & Culture, including the contrasting perspectives of Darryl Hart, Doug Wilson, Nelson Kloosterman, and Bill […]

Reformed Forum « The Confessional Outhouse

8 years ago

[…] (like me) you hardly know where to start listening, you might want to check out this innovative series on Christ & Culture, including the contrasting perspectives of Darryl Hart, Doug Wilson, Nelson Kloosterman, and Bill […]

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