Saturday, February 18, 2006

Transformationism: Amillennial or Postmillennial?

It has been great to see so many visitors this past week; we've had people from Seattle, San Antonio, St. Louis, Louisville, Charlottesville, D.C., and Aberdeen, Scotland. And thanks to those of you who have weighed in with comments (and for those who haven't, what are you waiting for?).

As some of you may be aware, in H. Richard Niebuhr's seminal work, Christ and Culture, he characterizes Calvin's position as "Christ the Transformer of Culture." Notwithstanding the fact that Niebuhr forgot to quote Calvin in the chapter devoted to him, the question could be raised whether "transformationism" is the best paradigm to capture the Church's relationship to, and responsibility in, society.

Transformationism, for those who haven't heard the term, is the view that the Church's role in this world includes transforming and redeeming the culture, and bringing it under the banner of Christ's Lordship (which, as contemporary Kuyperians tirelessly remind us, includes every "square inch" of the cosmos).

Obviously this position is directly opposed to the two kingdoms model, which recognizes culture as its own kingdom that is legitimate on its own terms, and therefore is not to be the object of redemptive efforts.

So here's my question: Is the desire to (in some sense) inaugurate the kingdom of God by means of cultural renewal more consistent with an amillennial or a postmillennial eschatology?

I'll show my cards later, but you first....