Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | May 30, 2008

Biblical Theology and the Culture War

As a follow up to our last post we were compelled to also draw your attention to a new article linked on the side bar by Dr. David VanDrunen.  The article “Biblical Theology and the Culture War” was linked on Monergism.com.  It provides a great exposition for a biblical paradigm on how believers should be engaged in the culture, which differs from that of believers within the theocratic state of Israel.  The following is an excerpt from the article to provide an idea of VanDrunen’s argument:

 

Perhaps there is no better place to learn the biblical view of our culture than Jeremiah 29. This chapter consists of a letter which Jeremiah wrote to a group of people that was asking many of the same questions we are asking today. For nearly a millennium the Israelites had lived in the Promised Land of Canaan under the Mosaic Law and a Davidic king. They were God’s chosen covenant people. To them all of life was holy. God’s revealed law was to regulate every part of life, and no one transgressing this law, no covenant breaker, was allowed to live. The question of culture was easy for the Israelites in the Promised Land: all of societal life must conform to the Mosaic Law, and anyone breaking this Law should be put to death. It was really quite simple.

The question of culture did not arise until they were deported to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar. Suddenly all the things that had been taken for granted were thrown into confusion. They were no longer living in the land promised to their race by God. The Mosaic Law was no longer the constitution of their country of residence. Their head of state was no longer a Davidic king, but a pagan Gentile. What were they to do? They had seldom been faithful as a society while they lived in their own land, but at least the answer to that problem was always readily available: reform according to the Mosaic Law. Were they now to seek to reform Babylon according to the Mosaic Law and turn it into a new Promised Land? Were they to resist the Babylonians and attempt forcefully to return to Canaan? Were they to meekly give up their consciousness as God’s chosen people and become Babylonians? The answer was not clear. Undoubtedly some were promoting each of these views.

A Reformed biblical-theology demonstrates how their situation is so closely aligned with ours. Their situation was, in fact, typological of ours. We understand that the Promised Land of Israel was a new Garden of Eden, a holy theocratic land whose very ground was sacred. Only those in good covenant standing with God were allowed to remain there. Both these in turn were the protological types of the eschatological, eternal heavenly kingdom of God. We understand as well that the exile to Babylon was a new expulsion from the Garden of Eden. As Adam was convicted of being a covenant breaker, and no longer fit to live in the holy land, so the people of Israel, convicted of transgressing the covenant God made with them through Moses, were no longer fit to live in their holy land. Both these in turn were types of our situation today. There is no geopolitical nation today which can be called God’s special holy land. We are a people in exile. We are a people who live with Adam east of Eden. We do not live under a Davidic king. The Mosaic Law is not our constitution. We, like the Israelites, live in Babylon. Little wonder is it, then, that New Testament writers used the term “Babylon” to represent the alien city in which God’s church dwells (e.g. 1 Pet. 5:13, Rev. 18). We do well, then, to listen to Jeremiah’s instructions to his people in exile.

Back to our regular schedule tomorrow.

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