Christian Liberty: Living for God in a Changing Culture

Rex M. Rogers (Baker Books)

Former Cornerstone University president Rogers offers a helpful guide through the "in but not of" tension that makes Christian approaches to culture so tricky. A solid overview of key biblical passages on Christian liberty, Rogers's book calls Christians to a smarter, less reactionary, and ultimately more effective witness in an always changing, always complex culture.

Christ and Culture

H. Richard Niebuhr (Harper & Row)

Niebuhr's classic is an immensely helpful introduction for anyone wanting to critically assess their posture toward culture. The famous spectrum he presents—Christ "against," "of," "above," "in paradox," and "transforming" culture—is not exhaustive but nevertheless helps Christians think through their relationship to the world.

Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

James K. A. Smith (Baker Academic)

Most Christian thinking about culture has been focused on thinking: cultivating a proper worldview or lens through which we can "think Christianly" about everything. Smith argues that we must explore how our everyday habits of life shape us on the level of affections. It's about how culture forms us for good and ill, not just in the realm of ideas but in the habits and postures of worship.

All God's Children & Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture

Ken Myers (Crossway)

Though a bit dated (as any book on popular culture invariably is), Myers's classic on Christianity and culture offers timeless insights about how Christians should navigate their relationship to pop culture. The book goes deeper than simple "that's evil" or "that's good" evaluations, giving Christians tools for discernment and a critical approach to both the content and deeper formative impact of pop culture.

After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters

N. T. Wright (HarperOne)

In understanding Christianity's relationship to culture, and the question of what "sets us apart," it's helpful to understand the big picture: why we're here and what we were created to be. Wright presents a sprawling but readable overview of Christian character far more inspiring than a checklist of dos and don'ts, but also more challenging than a "follow your heart" free-for-all. If nothing else, read the spectacular third chapter, "Priests and Rulers."

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