Cultural participation in reconciliation
by Ken Myers
“In order to bring our existence in this world under the discipline of God’s love in Christ, which is the life of the world, the church must understand itself as culture. The way that we use the stuff of creation for our life as church is training us in this-worldly existence. And most of that existence seems so natural and commonplace that we take it for granted.
“The ways that we use the stuff of creation in architecture, music, painting, food, money, books, cars, water, and more reflect our convictions about creation and teach us convictions for thinking about and living in creation. If we see the things of this world merely as instrumental to the salvation of spirit or saving souls, then we have truncated the good news of Jesus Christ. That is, if we see music or banners or other visual presentations merely as a means to move people more effectively to faith in Christ, then we are unfaithful to the gospel. There is a fine balance to observe here. Since creation is fallen from the good, it has become the world that must be and is being redeemed. Therefore, we must not be naive or undisciplined in our cultivation of church culture. At the same time, however, creation is not instrumental to salvation in Christ; it is the very substance of salvation in Christ. It is not enough that we have the arts in the life of the church; we must have them in the life of the church in the right way: as our celebration of and participation in the reconciliation of all things visible and invisible to God through Christ. The stuff of creation is what God the Son redeems through his becoming flesh, bearing our sin, enduring death, and rising to life. When we have a truncated doctrine of creation, we have a truncated understanding of salvation. With a more robust doctrine of creation, we may enter more fully into the life of the redeemed as witnesses to and servants of the only hope of all creation.”
— from Jonathan Wilson, God’s Good World: Reclaiming the Doctrine of Creation (BakerAcademic, 2013)