Created and Creating: A Biblical Theology of Culture

Created and Creating: A Biblical Theology of Culture

The gospel of Jesus Christ is always situated within a particular cultural context. But how should Christians approach the complex relationship between our faith and our surrounding culture? Should we simply retreat from culture? Should we embrace our cultural practices and mindset? How important is it for us to be engaged in our culture? And how might we do that with disc...

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Title:Created and Creating: A Biblical Theology of Culture
Author:William Edgar
Rating:
ISBN:0830851526
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:272 pages

Created and Creating: A Biblical Theology of Culture Reviews

  • Michelle Kidwell
    Dec 05, 2016

    Created and Creating

    A Biblical Theology of Culture

    by William Edgar

    InterVarsity Press

    IVP Academic

    Arts & Photography, Christian

    Pub Date 02 Jan 2017

    I am voluntarily reviewing a copy of Created and Creating through the publisher and Netgalley:

    This book points out that culture does not always bring about positive features, often it brings about images of poverty and hunger.

    Terry Eagleton said that culture is not only what we live by, but what we live for.

    This book goes on to talk about issues suc

    Created and Creating

    A Biblical Theology of Culture

    by William Edgar

    InterVarsity Press

    IVP Academic

    Arts & Photography, Christian

    Pub Date 02 Jan 2017

    I am voluntarily reviewing a copy of Created and Creating through the publisher and Netgalley:

    This book points out that culture does not always bring about positive features, often it brings about images of poverty and hunger.

    Terry Eagleton said that culture is not only what we live by, but what we live for.

    This book goes on to talk about issues such as racial equality.

    The author points out that Cultural Involvement along with worship the fundamental calling of the human race.

    Created and Creating deals with the relationship between Christian Faith and Culture.

    Five out of five stars.

    Happy Reading.

  • Daniel Ligon
    Jan 31, 2017

    I once heard a sermon that contained a lot of good information about the text. At the end, though, the preacher basically said, "Let the Holy Spirit apply this to your hearts" and quit without making any application himself. It was kind of a disappointing experience.

    Reading

    gave me a similar feeling. While it contains a lot of good content and thought, the author was very reticent to draw his own conclusions or follow those conclusions toward practical application. Basicall

    I once heard a sermon that contained a lot of good information about the text. At the end, though, the preacher basically said, "Let the Holy Spirit apply this to your hearts" and quit without making any application himself. It was kind of a disappointing experience.

    Reading

    gave me a similar feeling. While it contains a lot of good content and thought, the author was very reticent to draw his own conclusions or follow those conclusions toward practical application. Basically, all William Edgar leaves us with is his belief that there shouldn't be a dichotomy between the sacred and the secular in culture. This conclusion may be accurate but is quite limited. To be honest, it may be my fault that I didn't get this book; it was fairly academic and some of it may have gone over my head. Nevertheless, I think I would have benefited more if Edgar's theology of culture had been fleshed out a bit more and brought to the world where we live.

    This book is effective in its explanation of the historical views of culture held by Christian theologians over the years. I appreciated that section and learned from it. Overall, though, this book's conclusions are too limited to be very helpful for me.

    I received a digital copy of this book for free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are entirely my own.

  • Tori Samar
    Jan 24, 2017

    Goodness, this book stretched my brain a lot. There is so much to be gained in reading it, but be forewarned: you need to be willing to think, and to think carefully. Speaking for myself, I'll have to read this at least a few more times in order to fully "get it." But based on what I did "get" during my first read-through, I'm willing to say this book has an abundantly worthy message.

    Certainly, the church does not have a clear consensus on how Christians ought to relate to culture. Some say enga

    Goodness, this book stretched my brain a lot. There is so much to be gained in reading it, but be forewarned: you need to be willing to think, and to think carefully. Speaking for myself, I'll have to read this at least a few more times in order to fully "get it." But based on what I did "get" during my first read-through, I'm willing to say this book has an abundantly worthy message.

    Certainly, the church does not have a clear consensus on how Christians ought to relate to culture. Some say engage with it. Some say redeem it. Some say avoid it, lest you get led into worldliness. Some say oppose it (When's the last time you read or heard someone say Christians needs to be 'countercultural'? For me, it was just yesterday!). Dr. Edgar's thesis is that cultural engagement is "the fundamental calling for the human race" (p. 87). I'll be honest, that thesis made me squirm a little bit. Alarm bells of "This is a slippery slope" sounded in my head. But I decided to give Dr. Edgar a fair hearing. I'm glad I did.

    I think Dr. Edgar does a phenomenal job demolishing the false dichotomies to which many Christians hold regarding culture. First, life does not really operate according to categories of

    vs.

    . This is an unfortunate view that makes the Christian teachers, artists, carpenters, business owners, doctors, etc., of this world look and feel terribly inferior to the full-time pastors and missionaries. God has use for all of us in His multi-faceted creation, and He intends for all of us to glorify Him in our vocations. Furthermore, since Christ is the authority over all things and everything belongs to God, cultural pursuits (by this, Dr. Edgar means pursuits involving the arts, social justice, family, education, etc.) have immense value as means of glorifying and worshiping God. And please take note, Dr. Edgar is fully aware of the horrific effects of sin on the world around us. He is not advocating for a foolish "deep-dive" into culture that ignores the seduction of worldliness (by the way, Dr. Edgar correctly shows how culture and the world/the-world's-system are not quite synonymous) and sin's corruption of creation. But what he is trying to help us realize is that cultural pursuits are a worthwhile part of the Christian life.

    Another false dichotomy Dr. Edgar takes apart is that of

    vs.

    . He has serious concerns about the outlook that dogmatically says "[c]ultural pursuits are worldly. At best they are a distraction from the most noble pursuits; at worst they are raw idolatry" (p. 98). As Dr. Edgar points out, such a view is so spiritually-oriented, that those who hold it are just existing in this world until they make it safely to heaven. Sadly, they are missing out on the richness of life that God supplies. Of course—

    —God's kingdom and righteousness take first priority. I cannot stress this enough (nor can Dr. Edgar). But seeking first the kingdom

    the same thing as entirely avoiding "earthly" cultural pursuits. By God's grace, if we can hold our priorities correctly (seek

    the kingdom), we can glorify God in both.

    Please, let's not live as if the ungodly world/unbelievers are the only ones allowed to engage in culture. Yes, sin has corrupted culture. We need to be ever-mindful of that lest we fall into a trap. But since when do true Christians just sit back and let sin and Satan have their way? Dr. Edgar, in writing this book, certainly does not want us to treat culture as the great "lost cause." Engage. Be salt. Be light. Participate in and shape your culture in ways that glorify God.

    Honestly, there's so much more I ought to say in order to call this a full review of

    . But this review does need to end sooner or later. And as I mentioned earlier, my brain got a workout reading this book, so there are some aspects of it I don't even think I'm ready to review yet. Nevertheless, I'd like to think I have at least scratched the surface of some of the very good, very important messages in this book. If you're willing to make the effort, I do think it is worth your time to read it.

    P.S. The cover definitely deserves five stars. It's gorgeous!

    (Read for the 2017 Tim Challies Christian Reading Challenge: A book published in 2017)

  • Cat Caird
    Feb 19, 2017

    There is no doubt that William Edgar has done a lot of research for this book. While reading it, it felt very academic in it's style and the author goes to great lengths to unpack the history and philosophies behind culture. It is also an in-depth, rich book delving into the Christians response to culture, which proves to be very interesting and will enhance the readers understanding of our own culture and how faith interacts with it. It's worth reading, especially if you want to go deeper and f

    There is no doubt that William Edgar has done a lot of research for this book. While reading it, it felt very academic in it's style and the author goes to great lengths to unpack the history and philosophies behind culture. It is also an in-depth, rich book delving into the Christians response to culture, which proves to be very interesting and will enhance the readers understanding of our own culture and how faith interacts with it. It's worth reading, especially if you want to go deeper and further in your understanding of the role of biblical theology in culture.

  • E
    Mar 15, 2017

    This book was okay. Edgar makes a strong case that Christians should be involved in culture (and yet I wonder, is there really anyone arguing the opposite? sure you have the wacky "two kingdom" folks, but even they surely read books and watch television and have ideas about what makes for good art, politics, etc. as Christians).

    The book was annoying because it presents itself as a "biblical theology" but spent a giant portion of the book talking about theories of culture--Matthew Arnold, T. S. E

    This book was okay. Edgar makes a strong case that Christians should be involved in culture (and yet I wonder, is there really anyone arguing the opposite? sure you have the wacky "two kingdom" folks, but even they surely read books and watch television and have ideas about what makes for good art, politics, etc. as Christians).

    The book was annoying because it presents itself as a "biblical theology" but spent a giant portion of the book talking about theories of culture--Matthew Arnold, T. S. Eliot, etc. etc. This was at times interesting, but wasn't what I was looking for.

    The actual biblical theology section was fine, although a little shallow. Edgar has an annoying tendency (which he admits in the epilogue) of avoiding specific illustrations or applications of his points (this would make for a bad sermon, and it certainly makes for a weak book). So it's hard to fully agree or disagree with him, since, as we know, the devil is in the details.

    So the book is a decent look at the "cultural mandate" (God's instructions to Adam and Eve in the garden), but if you're looking for wise Christian instruction and counsel concerning how to interact meaningfully with the surrounding culture, you'd better look elsewhere (after reading this, I suppose).