Christ the Transformer of Culture by Niebuhr
In this chapter, the author evaluates a coversionist view ofChristianity. In the statement “He lives somewhat less between thetimes and somewhat more in the divine now……..the eschatologicalfuture has become an eschatological present” (Niebuhr 195). Theargument is that, whereas Christians pledge to some idea ofredemption, the conversionists’ suppose that redemption is acurrent possibility. Contrary to dualism that awaits a prospectiveredemption, the chapter argues that redemption happens in our presentlife. This means that people that believe in Christ do not have towait for an eschatological future. God is transforming the globemaking cultural salvation probable. Niebuhr notes that Christiansought to endeavor in comprehending what God is doing during thecurrent redemptive moment and react consequently.
The statement brings to light the theological issue of eternity.Niebuhr presents eternity as neither a non-historical issue nor afuturistic life with God, rather the presence of God in the presentChristians’ time. Everlasting life is ensuring that society livesby doing what is right, which is what Christ expects of us. Insteadof Christians preparing for a future life with God, they shouldinvolve Him in their current living. This means the role of Christ isin changing the human culture from an evil to a God-oriented, whichwill assist in overcoming sin. Although there is a lot of culturalsin, Christ gives us hope that cultures can undergo redemption. Theargument is that Christians do not have to wait for a future life ofsalvation, but can lead the eternal life now.
I differ with the statement on its presentation of eternity, oreternal redemption as a life that Christians can live and experiencenow. Eternity refers to the life after death for all Christians. Thismeans that when believers pass away, life does not end afterbereavement, rather it signifies the movement to another life withChrist. Human culture has undergone a lot of transformation, whichhas resulted in the infiltration of evil. Society is currently viewedas a place filled with social evil. People rarely lead the life thatis accepted of them as Christians. Christianity mandates leading alife that is pleasing before man and God. This involves disengagingfrom what is considered ungodly. Since such a life is difficult tolead, then those that manage to lead a righteous life obtaineternity. Thus, the statement cannot be correct in saying that it ispossible to attain eternity in the current human culture.
Eternity is a reward for living a life that is free from sin. It isas well as reward for choosing to follow Christ. In eternity, lifewill be endless and filled with joy, health and all the wealthdesired. Human culture is filled with transgressions making itimpossible to lead a joyful, wealthy and healthy life in the humanstate. In addition, eternity is referred to a spiritual life, onethat is envisioned. This means that no one knows how it feels, sinceno one has been able to explain the experience as a human being.Rather, it is more of a life that Christians hope to attain. Inconclusion, Christians should endeavor to lead a life free of sinwithin their culture by acknowledging Christ as their guide towardswhat is correct or incorrect. In the end, those that manage to leadsuch a life in the human culture will reap eternity.
Niebuhr, H R. Christ and Culture. Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smith,1970. Print.