In a recent Newsweek article, Stephen Jones, now the President of Bob Jones University (since Dr Bob III retired last spring) answered a question about whether he would be as involved in politics & culture battles as his father & grandfather have.
“The gospel is for individuals. The main message we have is to individuals. We’re not here to save the culture.”
Even Dr Bob Sr. understood that the Gospel must affect culture if it has any real power at all.
Dr Bob Jr embraced “good” culture .. and while he & I would define “good” culture by different standards, he was right to establish Shakespeare on the BJU stage, operas every spring, a spirit of excellence in the fine arts, and a religious art gallery that rivals the museums I have visited overseas.
If the Fall affects culture, families, and institutions in addition to individuals — and oh how it does! — limiting the Gospel to only rescuing “individuals” reflects a defeatist view of the world. Grace must be powerful enough to alter the force of culture … otherwise, how is it of any value at all?
We are not here to “polish knobs on a sinking ship.”
This world is God’s. He created it and claims it as His own. “The earth will be full of the glory of the Lord like the waters cover the sea” (Haggai)… that’s not just a pipe dream. Otherwise I’d pack my bags and work in “the secular world.”
The ministry of reconciliation is real, and we go forth in the power of a Gospel that not only changes individual hearts, but also works to heal and redeem in all of humanity & its endeavors what sin has destroyed.
….*grumbles* Bad theology is galling….
If you’re looking for further reading, read Al Wolters’ book Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview. It’s a great, short introduction to what I just skimmed through in only a few paragraphs.