Spring 1997

Volume 16, Issue 1

A Christian Counter Culture

by Dr. Luder G. Whitlock

The Making of a Counter Culture by Theodore Rozak was published in 1969, marking the revolt among college students against established power and authority. While their cynicism and disaffection also included a rejection of the world view of modern science and the secularization of culture, who would have thought at that time that the intense protest of the 60's would lead to such far-reaching social disintegration? Yet we continue to experience the consequences of that pivotal period in American history.

At the same time, as Rozak himself acknowledged, there was a persistent quest for personal growth, spiritual fulfillment, and authenticity, a quest that led many hippies to become Jesus People. I still recall the delight of seeing many of those youth sincerely turn to Jesus Christ for their salvation. They were different from the Flower Children and different from the Peaceniks. They found what they were looking for and their anger evaporated into joy and satisfaction, whereas others either tuned out or attempted to wreck the established world.

In recent years the erosion of moral values has worsened and there has been a pervasive loss of community. There's corruption. Crime. Immorality Greed. These have become prevalent.

Economically people feel OK, but in most other ways they hurt. And Christians are beginning to feel like an unwanted minority. It is troubling.

Perhaps now more than ever, evangelical Christians need to think of themselves as a counter culture - not gathering inwardly and selfishly to ward off the world behind safe walls, but clustering into communities of faith commitment so that principled, virtuous lives will stand out in stark contrast, so that unselfish compassion and kindness may mark the desire for ministry. A love for the truth will embolden resistance to manipulation and falsehood.

New Testament Christians were like all of that in spite of persecution and hostility.

God turned the world upside down through them.

We must be God's peculiar people, different from the world though certainly in it, and as we become radiant with His grace we may expect Him to protect and bless us so that as an unbelieving world hurdles toward destruction, we may offer a genuine alternative, a durable hope and, as an attractive, winsome counter-culture, be used to bring spiritual renewal.

With that hope, RTS was born and to that goal we press, that "His kingdom may come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."


Reformed Quarterly, Volume 16, Issue 1
Reformed Theological Seminary
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Last updated 8-11-99.