James Davison Hunter has a way of ruffling feathers, not only outside the Christian community, but also within it. His recently published book, To Change the World, critiques much of what passes for Christian public engagement—from the right, left, and Anabaptist perspectives—as sincerely misguided and “participating in the very cultural breakdown they so ardently strive to resist.” This has sparked a debate on the pages of Christianity Today.
Charles Colson, Andy Crouch, and James Davison Hunter—all of whom have written influential books in the last decade regarding the Christian’s cultural calling—have emerged as the leading figures in this debate. Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey in How Now Shall We Live? argue that Christians needed to understand and live their faith as a comprehensive worldview, not simply as a private salvation solution that provides primarily post-death benefits. They develop the implications of this worldview for the various dimensions of life, including how we do politics, academics, church, and entertainment. The biblical truths regarding creation, fall, redemption, and restoration provide an accurate diagnosis and prescription for life, and when believers live out of that reality, they contribute to creating a new world of peace, love, and forgiveness.
Andy Crouch argues in Culture Making that changing culture requires more than worldview. He focuses on the embodiment of worldview, arguing that the artifacts of culture—the “stuff” we use and produce—are at the heart of determining how we understand and change the world. While acknowledging that Christians at times need to condemn and critique secular culture, Crouch calls for the cultivation and creation of cultural artifacts as more effective and faithful means of social engagement.
Hunter explicitly challenges the approaches of Colson and Crouch.