I was really excited to read this book, as I love exploring the nature of living as Christians in our world and impacting culture for Christ. I have to say, however, I was very disappointed as I read through this book. I think VanDrunen makes several errors in his judgment. I think he does not accurately portray Niebuhr's view of Calvin and how Calvin viewed culture. Also he never addresses Jesus words from Matthew 5:13-16. I am not sure you can have a complete discussion of Christianity and culture without tackling that passage. There were a few highlights for the book but they were infrequent and hard to find.
What is a believer's role/responsibility in culture? Are we to work towards redeeming culture, engaging different aspects of society or retreat and live separate from culture? Should a believer engage in the political process to enact change or live paranoid of government, living in fear and isolation? What does it mean when the Bible says our citizenship is not of this world? Or that we are 'sojourners' on earth?
In Living In God's Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture, VanDrunen examines these issues and brings to light what the Bible teaches about the believers role in both the culture as earthly citizens with those around us (including the lost) and how believers live as a 'chosen people' and live a life that is different because of our faith. In other words the book addresses how believers are to be in the world but not of the world.
The book explains well VanDrunen's view of the two kingdoms, one he calls the common kingdom (based on the Noahic covenant) and the other called the redemptive kingdom (based on the Abrahamic covenant). He then moves into a very detailed and clear discussion of the first Adam and the Last Adam. Following this is an examination of the OT and NT view of being a 'sojourner'. The final chapters address address how we live in the two kingdoms, through the church (earthly representation of the kingdom of heaven) and through three specific areas of culture (education, vocation and politics).
VanDrunen provides clear biblical support for his views and clears some of the confusion surrounding the debate regarding the believer's role in culture. Having personally dealt with those who feel Christians should be in all levels of government/administration/levels of societal influence in order to effectively change culture to those who are paranoid of any involvement by Christians in those areas, I found this book to be very helpful and would highly recommend it to both sides of the debate.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."