The year 2006 marks the 50th anniversary of Christianity Today. To help us reflect on the role of evangelicalism in the next 50 years, we have undertaken The Christian Vision Project. The project, directed by Andy Crouch, invites leading thinkers to reflect on the shape of Christian faithfulness in the 21st century. The three-year project focuses on culture in year one (underwritten by the Pew Charitable Trusts), mission in year two, and the gospel in year three. For year one, we've asked our writers to answer this question: "How can followers of Christ be a counterculture for the common good?" We've borrowed that piquant phrase from the Rev. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, whose own response will appear later this year.
We begin with an essay by Michael S. Horton, professor of apologetics and theology at Westminster Seminary California and one of the leading voices in the contemporary revitalization of the Reformed tradition in America. He is editor of Modern Reformation magazine, host of a nationally syndicated radio broadcast, and author of a number of books, including the forthcoming Too Good to Be True (Zondervan) and God of Promise (Baker).
It was confusing to grow up singing both "This World Is Not My Home" and "This Is My Father's World." Those hymns embody two common and seemingly contradictory Christian responses to culture. One sees this world as a wasteland of godlessness, with which the Christian should have as little as possible to do. The other regards cultural transformation as virtually identical to "kingdom activity."
Certainly the answer does not lie in any intrinsic opposition of heaven and earth. After all, Jesus taught us to pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth ...1