Christ and Culture

by H. Richard Niebuhr




Call number




Harper & Brothers


This 50th-anniversary edition, with a new foreword by the distinguished historian Martin E. Marty, who regards this book as one of the most vital books of our time, as well as an introduction by the author never before included in the book, and a new preface by James Gustafson, the premier Christian ethicist who is considered Niebuhr’s contemporary successor, poses the challenge of being true to Christ in a materialistic age to an entirely new generation of Christian readers.

User reviews

LibraryThing member disneypope
Classic text on how the Christ/Church interface with our culture.
LibraryThing member twatson79
Certainly influential in shaping the discussion in the US of how Christians engage culture. It has its faults, but no typology is perfect and Niebuhr is aware of that fact. I agree that it is a must read, though I hesitate to say that people should employ the typology without some translation.
LibraryThing member gmicksmith
H. Richard Niebuhr's most famous work is Christ and Culture. It is often referenced in discussions and writings on a Christian's response to the world's culture. In the book, Niebuhr gives a history of how Christianity has responded to culture. He outlines five prevalent viewpoints:
Christ against
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Culture. For the exclusive Christian, history is the story of a rising church or Christian culture and a dying pagan civilization.
Christ of Culture. For the cultural Christian, history is the story of the Spirit’s encounter with nature.
Christ above Culture. For the synthesist, history is a period of preparation under law, reason, gospel, and church for an ultimate communion of the soul with God.
Christ and Culture in Paradox. For the dualist, history is the time of struggle between faith and unbelief, a period between the giving of the promise of life and its fulfillment.
Christ Transforming Culture. For the conversionist, history is the story of God’s mighty deeds and humanity’s response to them. Conversionists live somewhat less “between the times” and somewhat more in the divine “now” than do the followers listed above. Eternity, to the conversionist, focuses less on the action of God before time or life with God after time, and more on the presence of God in time. Hence the conversionist is more concerned with the divine possibility of a present renewal than with conservation of what has been given in creation or preparing for what will be given in a final redemption.
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LibraryThing member daletadlock
Excellent must-read book for any pastor, minister or seminary student!
LibraryThing member dhamid
As relevant today as when first written.
LibraryThing member walterhistory
Although this book is over 40 years old, Niebuhr's work remains just as relevant as it was then. The author presents 4 different perspectives of what a church may look like in engaging the culture in which it is in. Expanding on these perspectives, he shares with the reader what each church would
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be doing whether active or reactive. I should say this work is a bit above the average reader's head but if one has the patience to read each perspective one day or one week at a time, this may be a better thing & give the reader time to digest it.
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LibraryThing member stillatim
Very smart, although also a good reminder that mid-century American prose could be astonishingly abstract and slippery.
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