10 Key Books about Christians and Culture
Some Christians separate themselves from the culture, while others try to transform it. Here are ten key books (listed in alphabetical order by title) to help believers navigate the complexities of living out their faith to the glory of God in a fallen world:
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1. Bioethics and the Christian Life: A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions By David VanDrunen
Life is full of hard decisions, and sometimes it's difficult to know how to apply the principles of Scripture in our modern situations. Find wisdom in this small book by David VanDrunen as he helps the reader understand pressing issues in light of the Word of God.
2. Christ and Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr
Different views of how Christianity and culture relate to each other have produced a variety of responses regarding how believers are to live out the Christian faith in this world. Should Christians separate from the surrounding culture, accommodate to the culture, or be above culture in some way, perhaps even transforming it? H. Richard Niebuhr’s classic is a must-read for every seminary student—and anyone who wants to be better acquainted with the various positions Christians have held throughout church history regarding the relationship between Christ and culture.
3. The City of God by Saint Augustine of Hippo
Written by Augustine about 1600 years ago in response to accusations that the Roman empire fell as a result of the spread of Christianity, The City of God is an epic work that argues Rome fell, not because the culture rejected pagan gods in favor of Christianity, but because of paganism’s moral corruption. He goes on to describe in detail two cities that are opposed to one another: the earthly city of man and the heavenly city of God. Though the work is lengthy and detailed, understanding Augustine's two cities is important for any study of Christianity and culture.
4. Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work by Timothy Keller
How are Christians to understand the significance of the ordinary things in their lives and their connection to God's bigger plan? Does my work have value, or is it only useful if it is religious in some way? Join Timothy Keller as he teaches about the importance and place of our ordinary work for God's kingdom.
5. God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life by Gene Edward Veith Jr.
Often the work Christians perform in their daily jobs is not noticeably different from the work of unbelievers. It can be of similar quality, take just about the same time, and produce similar results. Is there anything unique about how Christians approach their jobs? Gene Veith helps us view the Christian's work from God's perspective, encouraging those who find themselves in the grind of their daily occupation.
6. The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield
It was the kind and repeated hospitality shown by a pastor and church congregation that influenced college professor Rosaria Butterfield to abandon her lesbian lifestyle and be receptive to hearing the gospel. In The Gospel Comes with a House Key, Butterfield, now a noted Christian author and lecturer, gives much needed perspective and encouragement regarding why “radically ordinary hospitality” is key to sharing the love of Christ with our believing and unbelieving neighbors.
7. Living in God's Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture by David VanDrunen
During this time when Jesus is building his church by the power of the Holy Spirit, what should Christians be doing while waiting for their Savior's return? David VanDrunen explains why Christians should actively engage in culture, while also being sojourners and exiles in this world.
8. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition by Christine D. Pohl
In this insightful book, Christine Pohl helps us to develop a lifestyle focused on hospitality. Historically, Christian hospitality has been a practice rooted not in promoting the most prized of society, but in honoring the dishonored and welcoming them into a society that finds value in the “least of these.”
9. To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World by James Davison Hunter
How do Christians influence the world around them effectively? Are there methods that are more constructive than others? James Davidson Hunter explores why some Christian efforts concerning culture have been ineffective and also offers suggestions for Christians as they interact with the world.
10. What Is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert
How do Christians understand their part in the world? Is the church supposed to be involved or separate from political and social matters? Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert offer thoughtful answers to these questions and provide the Christian some guidance in understanding how Christians and the Christian community interact with local and global issues.
For more books related to the Christian faith, you can view Beautiful Christian Life’s recommended booklists here.
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