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Faith, church and culture



Syllabus for Independent Study on



By Leonardo M. Alves



Read the selected texts and reflect, writing an essay on the state of Christianity and the contemporary culture.


Reflect on different understandings of being human as cultural, social and believing human beings by interacting with Anthropology, Cultural and Social Studies. It also equips them to examine the role, place and nature of churches, communities and structures of faith within society (ecclesiology)


Defining Terms

The Kingdom




The World



Summary of History of Christianity and Culture

How to Interpret Culture

Early Study of Church and Society/Culture




Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture

Christ (Church) against Culture
Christ (Church)  of Culture
Christ (Church)  above Culture
Christ (Church)  and Culture in Paradox
Christ (Church)  the Transformer of Culture.


John Howard Yoder critique of H.R. Niebuhr


Paul Tillich on Culture

Theology of Culture

Cultural form as actualization of religion

Culture as source for Theology





Other perspectives

T.S. Eliot: The role of Church in preservation and transmission of Culture

Harvey Cox: Secular Christianity

Stanley Hauerwas: Church in a pluralistic culture

Clifford Geertz: Religion as a Cultural System

Peter Berger: religion as a cultural construction of society.

Hegeman: culture as a gift from God

Reformed perspective: the Christian (re)construction of Culture: Abraham Kuyper, J. Gresham Machen, Francis Schaeffer
Carter: the Church as a Culture


Reflection on Contemporary culture and Christianity

Role of Church

Mission of Church

Christian expression in secular way

Music: Bono

Literature: Tolkien

Film: Passion of Christ

Thought: Francis Collins

Culture as a challenge to Christianity

Music:  Judas Priest

Literature: DaVinci Code

Movie: Dogma

Thought: Richard Dawkins

Christianity conquering the mainstream

Music: He raises me up

Movie: Amazing Grace

Thought: Alvin Platinga

Christianity as subculture

Music: Hillsong

Literature: Left Behind series




·         Clifford Geertz. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, 1973.

·         Ernst Troeltsch. The Social Teachings of the Christian Church, vol. 1, 2, Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1992.

·         Harvey Cox. The Secular City. New York: Collier Books, 1990.

·         Hegeman, David Bruce. Plowing in Hope: Toward a Biblical Theology of Culture

·         Niebuhr, H.R. Christ and Culture. New York: Harper & Row, 1951.

·         Peter Berger. The Sacred Canopy. New York: Doubleday, 1967.

·         Stanley Hauerwas. A Community of Character. Notre Dame IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1982

·         Stassen, Glen, D.M. Yeager, and J.H.Yoder. Authentic Transformation: A New Vision of Christ and Culture. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.

·         T.S. Eliot. Christianity and Culture. New York: Harcourt, 1976

·         Tillich, Paul. Theology of Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1959.

·         Carter, Craig A. Rethinking Christ and Culture: A Post Christendom Perspective. Brazos Press. 2006

·         Bible. King James Version.

(C) 2004-2008 by Leonardo M. Alves

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