Niebuhr's Christ and Culture: A Re-examination

Jack Schwandt

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 10/1/1990

Issue: Christ and Culture(s) (Vol. 10, No 4, Fall, 1990)

Niebuhr tells us that the problem is not found in the relationship of “civilization” and Christianity, “whether defined as church, creed, ethics, or movement of thought,” because Christianity “itself moves between the poles of Christ and culture”; and so “the relation of these two authorities [Christ and culture] constitutes its problem." “Culture” is innocuous in the argument of Christ and Culture, even though it is one of the two “authorities” in that argument. To see that this is so, we turn first to a review of Niebuhr’s definition of “culture” and then to an alternative to this definition.

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