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Christian Cultural Defeatism in the Arts

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The Theology of a Common Grace Misstep

image of Journal of Reformed Theology

The goal of this article is to explore the theology of cultural engagement with focus on the fine arts, and to redress a common misunderstanding, certainly in practice if not in theory as well. Looking at Cornelius Van Til’s engagement with Abraham Kuyper on the noetic effects of the fall and regeneration, I diagnose the cultural problem as one of imbalance: the subjective supervenes on the objective, so to speak, so that cultural spheres themselves succumb to the soteric status of regenerate or unregenerate image bearers. Hans Rookmaaker corroborates this account and helps clarify several ways in which this framework translates aesthetically and undermines Christian witness in the arts, cultural disadvantages caught by William Edgar as well. Borrowing from Rookmaaker, Kuyper, and Edgar, I then propose a repaired theology of culture and the artistic sphere.

Affiliations: 1: Torch Trinity Graduate University, Seoul, S. Korea


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