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In our previous installment, we saw that human culture and technology are a necessary part of the creation mandate and as such should not be viewed as necessary or intrinsic evils. Moreover, we argued that religion is part of human culture, and it will, therefore, employ some of the tools of culture. But before we suggest some ways in which we can use modern technologies to advance the Great Commission, I’d like briefly to highlight the tension that exists between the benefits, tradeoffs, and dangers of technology. We’ve noted that human technology brings with it certain benefits or, to use a biblical term, “blessings.” Nevertheless, over and against those benefits and blessings, we need to be aware of the resultant tradeoffs as well as the potential dangers that new technologies introduce.
The industrial revolution brought with it many benefits. Various kinds of manufactured goods become more available and affordable. Many of the things produced by factories facilitated the services of other vocations and even occasioned the need for new vocations. As a result, many new jobs were created and people employed.
"Tom Holland’s Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World is a substantial work that makes a straightforward case. In Holland’s view, the teachings of Jesus constituted an ethical revolution that would gradually transform human consciousness, to the extent that we today find it hard to imagine credible alternative systems." - Christianity Today
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What biblical reality do we need to add to creation and the fall in order to cultivate a more balanced view of human culture? What part of the biblical picture do the “counter-cultural” only Christians often miss?
The simple answer is “grace.” According to the Bible, God does not completely abandon mankind in his sinful state, but he shows kindness or grace. To be more specific, God bestows two kinds of grace: common grace and saving grace.
I think we’re all pretty familiar with God’s saving grace, which enables us to turn from our sin and trust in Jesus—the grace by which God endows us with every spiritual blessing in Christ and secures for us an eternal inheritance. But sometimes we lose sight of God’s common grace. What is “common grace” from a biblical point of view? Like the word “culture,” the phrase “common grace” doesn’t appear in the Bible. But the concept of common grace does. Common grace refers to God’s blessings on the human race that fall short of salvation from sin. Theologians usually classify these blessings as follows:6
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Since culture and technology describe what humans made in God’s image do and make, it shouldn’t surprise us that the Bible has something to say about them. And I believe it would be useful for us to develop a biblical and theological framework for human culture and technology before we attempt to relate them to church ministry.1 As we look at the biblical data, what we discover is that the Bible portrays human culture and its corollary human technology as good, as bad, and as both good and bad.
We’re first introduced to human culture and, by way of implication, to technology in the creation account of Genesis one. Here we learn not only the origin but also the nature of human culture and technology.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:26-28).
By Jeffrey D. Burr. Republished with permission from Baptist Bulletin.
Last year Sears Holdings Corporation announced the closure of at least 226 stores. Sears had been a fixture in American culture throughout the 20th century. It was where my family went to buy nearly everything—including household supplies, toys, clothing, and appliances. My dad would often cite Craftsman tools’ lifetime guarantee as he would grab the socket set out of his toolbox. Yet despite this long-term stability and solid product line, Sears is now in steep decline and on the verge of bankruptcy.
This article first appeared at Proclaim & Defend, the blog of the Foundations Baptist Fellowship International. It is republished here with permission.
You can’t escape the media these days, which means almost everyone knows of their latest obsessions within a few hours of their formation. The last week or so, one story crowded out the regular obsessions. You can hardly go to a site on the web that isn’t offering some kind of opinion about Harvey Weinstein and the Hollywood scandal. I’ve read a few of these articles myself. Some of them offer some interesting and/or helpful insights. I’ll give some links throughout this post.
Two things interest me about the articles I’ve read. First, the voluminous secular reaction and (mostly) outrage. Second, the comparatively quiet Christian reaction, which fails to speak to what ought to concern Christians most about this scandal, at least in the articles I’ve been able to find.
Many writers focus on hypocrisy, both by the principals in the story and by the tongue-clucking observers in the pundit class. Jonah Goldberg skewers hypocrites on the left and the right with this: