The gospel of Jesus Christ is always situated within a particular cultural context. But how should Christians approach the complex relationship between our faith and our surrounding culture?
Should we simply retreat from culture? Should we embrace our cultural practices and mindset? How important is it for us to be engaged in our culture? And how might we do that with discernment and faithfulness?
William Edgar offers a rich biblical theology in light of our contemporary culture that contends that Christians should—indeed, must—be engaged in the surrounding culture.
By exploring what Scripture has to say about the role of culture and by gleaning insights from a variety of theologians of culture—including Abraham Kuyper, T. S. Eliot, H. Richard Niebuhr, and C. S. Lewis—Edgar contends that cultural engagement is a fundamental aspect of human existence. He does not shy away from those passages that emphasize the distinction between Christians and the world. Yet he finds, shining through the biblical witness, evidence that supports a robust defense of the cultural mandate to "be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it," (Genesis 1:28).
With clarity and wisdom, Edgar argues that we are most faithful to our calling as God's creatures when we participate in creating culture.
"Anything from the pen of Bill Edgar is profitable to read, but this subject is in Bill's wheelhouse. An important book on a topic that, for Western Christians, has never been so crucial."
"Cultural engagement has become a contested project in our times. Culture has been the turf on which too many battles have been fought and lost. With conviction and civility, Bill Edgar's Created and Creating helps us avoid those culture wars on one side while also keeping clear of the deep suspicion of all cultural activities on the other. He does this by mining the breadth of Scripture for the Creator's own thoughts about the cultural mandate, a mandate which turns out to be both a privilege and a danger. It is a privilege because the created order continues to beckon all of us to find significance in the reflection of the Creator in our earthly endeavors. It is a danger because the dysfunctions of the human heart too easily cause us to forget the call to reflect the Creator in those endeavors. Edgar's book is a biblical call to think more wisely, to engage more graciously, and to live with greater faith in the world God has created and in which he has purposively placed us."
"Edgar undertakes the important task of evaluating the concept of culture through a rich biblical-theological lens that diagnoses, affirms, and challenges the contemporary view of cultural dynamics. This work is not only valuable for understanding what Scripture has to say about culture, but also helpful for seeing how Scripture interacts with the constantly evolving concerns of culture in our modern world."
"Bill Edgar's Created and Creating is the most thorough and the most solidly biblical contribution to the current discussion of Christ and culture. Edgar's analysis of the historical discussion is wonderfully erudite and nuanced. His treatment of biblical texts and principles is deep and cogent. His conclusion is that God's cultural mandate to Adam is still in effect and that the Great Commission of Jesus applies that mandate to a world lost in sin. I hope and pray that many will read this book and take its message to heart."
"I have been waiting for this book since I first met Dr. Edgar. I can count on one hand the people who are qualified to write such a work, and Bill Edgar is at the top of the list. He is a Christian theologian who is also an expert in cultural studies. This should be the first volume one reads when questions of Christianity and culture are broached."
"Christians are often confused or even fearful about cultural trends. The help they need is clearly and accessibly offered in Bill Edgar's book. It is biblical, gently Reformed, and written with wisdom and grace."
"William Edgar has written a thoughtful introductory work on a biblical theology of culture. This would function as a good supplementary text to an Introduction to Mission or Biblical Theology of Mission course at the seminary level, especially if it is read alongside other works from diverse global theologians."
"This book's greatest strength lies in its comprehensive treatment of culture from a biblical perspective. . . . For this and many other reasons, many will benefit from this profitable read."
"Edgar masterfully accomplishes his intended desire and has given the church a biblically profound and theologically rich case for “the cultural mandate…as the central calling for humanity."
"Throughout Created and Creating, Edgar excellently presents what the academic meanings of culture are and what the legitimacy of the cultural mandate is. . . . It is recommendable to those who want to grasp a comprehensive concept of culture and one of the major Christian responses to the culture."
Part I: Parameters of Culture
1. Cultural Analysis
2. Biblical and Theological Reflections
Part II: Challenges from Scripture
3. Facing the Contra Mundum Texts
4. Read It Again—Life in This World
5. This World, No Friend?
6. The End of the Beginning
7. Creation and Redemption
Part III: The Cultural Mandate
8. The First Vocation
9. Culture After the Fall
10. The Cultural Reflex
11. Culture in the New Covenant
12. Culture in the Afterlife