41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
A. Scott Cunningham
- Published on Amazon.com
Wolters has done a terrific job of explaining how Christians are to relate to all of the created world in this brief treatise. In a time in which Christians in America lack a clear vision of their place in and with society, many have succumbed to the belief that that some areas are less important and less holy than others. Having forced life into a dichotomy of "secular" and "sacred" activities, Christendom has lost its sense of the inherent value and goodness of life outside the walls of their Sunday School classroom. With more and more Christians abandoning their posts and ceasing to believe in the inherent goodness of culture and society, it is no wonder that the machinery of soceity has come to a grinding and nauseating halt. The air is ripe for believers to rediscover the truth about God's love and plans for the redemption of all of life and to realize that the myth of the sacred/secular dichotomy is nothing more than the ancient, but everpresent, heresy of Gnosticism which has always plaugud the church (and no doubt always will til Christ comes back).
Creation is intrinsically a good thing. Sin entered the world and like a parasite attached itself to all things. But God, in His everlasting and everreaching mercy, has brought about a plan of redemption, not only to individual persons, but also to the world as a whole, through the death and resurrection of His Son. This short, yet masterfully written book (98 pages), will impart to Christians an intoxicating vision and direction about the world at large that is much needed in the Church today. _Creation Regained_ offers a comforting and encouraging word, reassuring the troubled Christian with the implications of redemption and how they must drive our interaction with culture. God desires the restoration of all of life, and Christians are his salt and light to accomplish that purpose. A must read for all who seriously struggle to understand their place in the world.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
David T. Wayne
- Published on Amazon.com
The subtitle of this book is "Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview," and as the book develops, the author clearly aligns himself with the Dutch Reformed school of thought. This school of thought is best represented by Abraham Kuyper and there is a real sense in which this book can be viewed as an introduction to Kuyperian thinking.
Wolters begins the book by defining what a worldview is. He distinguishes "worldview" from the academic disciplines of theology and philosophy. He says that one may need specialized education to engage in theology and philosophy, but a worldview is something that everyone has, regardless of education. He defines a worldview as "the comprehensive framework of one's basic beliefs about things."
He goes on to say that a Biblical worldview is to understand the world through the biblical lenses of creation, fall, and redemption. Chuck Colson's book "How Now Shall We Live," takes the same approach.
What is unique about Wolters book, and this is a theme that runs throughout, is his distinction between structure and direction. Structure refers to the way something was created. In other words, everything has a structure - the family, government, labor, etc., all have a structure given to them. Direction refers to their movement toward or away from God.
He shows that many Christians tend to reject the structure of a thing, when they should be dealing with direction. For instance, he speaks of human sexuality. Many Christians view sex in a negative light. However, sexuality has a biblical structure, i.e. it was created by God for a purpose and is to be pursued according to that purpose. To reject sexuality out of hand is to reject God's created order, or structure. It is the direction of human sexuality that we are to engage, not the structure. We are to seek to redeem it, pointing it in a godward direction.
Wolters goes on to develop these themes through looking at how the fall affected the created order (structure) and how redemption affects it. Redemption is concerned with reversing the effects of the fall. Because the scope of redemption is as wide as the scope of the fall, there is nothing in all of creation that is irredeemable.
All of this leads up to an explanation of the Kuyperian notion of sphere sovereignty - which states that no societal institution is subordinate to any other. In other words, the church is not subordinate to the state, nor vice versa. This applies to all institutions - family, education, etc.. If I read him right each institution has a created structure and though they are not subordinate to one another, they are subordinate to God's laws. Hence, all can and must be redeemed - i.e. put in a godward direction.
I enjoyed the book - there is a lot of meat in a few pages. It has motivated me to study Kuyper and his disciples more closely. I am not sure that I am completed persuaded on the sphere sovereignty notion yet, but regardless, this book is provocative and well worth a read.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a gem of a book. First published in 1985, it has been reissued several times since then, with the newest edition appearing in 2005.
The gist of the book can be stated this way: there are two major themes in biblical theology - creation and redemption. Unfortunately many believers today only consider the latter. Sometimes they have reduced Christianity to just one thing: getting souls into heaven. Now that of course is vital.
But Wolters reminds us that this is not the entire gospel. Redemption is important, but so too is creation. Recognising that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth should remind us that this world is not just secondary to God's purposes. In fact the two-fold nature of the biblical worldview is really a threefold one: creation, fall/redemption, and re-creation.
God is not finished with this world, and has great plans for it. Indeed, argues Wolters, we need to have a more wholistic view of what biblical redemption in fact entails. He says that "the redemption in Jesus Christ means the restoration of an original good creation. . . . In other words, redemption is re-creation".
Everything that God created - be it social, relational, cultural or personal - is part of God's good creation and is meant to be redeemed, to be taken into the Lordship of Christ.
As Wolters says, "everything is creational". That is, every aspect of natural life is part of God's created order. As we are commanded in the so-called dominion mandate of Gen. 1: 27-31, we are to tend God's creation; we are to be his stewards on planet earth. "Almighty God has withdrawn from the work of creation," says Wolters, but "he has put an image of himself on the earth with a mandate to continue".
He explains, "Mankind, as God's representatives on earth, carry on where God left off". And our task is no less than the development of civilisation, and all which that entails. Thus a cultural order is to be developed and sustained by God's people. And a political order. And an economic order. And a social order, and so on. All these are aspects of the civilisation which God intended mankind to develop and propagate.
Thus in one sense there is to be no sacred-secular dichotomy. This whole world is God's world. Satan has sought to claim it as his own, but it is not. It does not belong to him. It belongs to God, and doubly so: by creation and by redemption. Again, the goal of the church is not just to get disembodied souls into some cloudy-like heaven, but to get whole embodied people into a new earth in the future, and remake them on this earth now.
So we are partakers with God in the creation/recreation theme that pervades all of Scripture. "Creation is not something that, once made, remains a static quantity," says Wolters. "There is ... an unfolding of creation. This takes place through the task that people have been given of bringing to fruition the possibilities of development implicit in the work of God's hands".
In other words, "We are called to participate in the ongoing creational work of God, to be God's helper in executing to the end the blueprint for his masterpiece". Seen in this light, the Christian life is far more than what happens on a Sunday morning, or in daily devotionals, or in "witnessing:. It takes on the whole of life.
Thus writing a novel, tending a garden, or singing in a choir can all be parts of God's creational and redemptive work. Doing the best job you can in a factory can be just as important as becoming an overseas missionary. As Paul reminds us, whatever we do, we should do all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
What Wolters wants to remind us is that "human history and the unfolding of culture and society are integral to creation and its development". They are "not outside God's plan for the cosmos, despite the sinful aberrations".
Wolters argues that we must take sin and its effects seriously, but we must remember that the beauty and purposes of God's creation are not totally eradicated by sin. Believers are called to redeem the created order, bringing it under the Lordship of Christ. That means every area, not just what we consider to be "spiritual".
The view being put forth by Wolters (a view which has always been part of the Reformed biblical worldview) helps us to think outside of the box, and see our calling and mission as much larger than how we tend to view them. Wolters rightly says, "The scope of redemption is as great as that of the fall; it embraces creation as a whole".
Wolters deserves much credit for reminding us of these foundational truths that have in many ways been lost in much of the church.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A. Blake White
- Published on Amazon.com
Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview (143 pp & first published in 85') is a great intro to worldview studies, and in particular Neo-Calvinism (Kuyper et al). It is a great read. I would recommend reading this one, then beelinin' it to Pearcey's 'Total Truth.' Most Christians are ignorant of the fact that Scripture calls us to commitment to Christ in more aspects than our private faith. Christ's Lordship is much more comprehensive than your thirty minutes before work. As Kuyper famously put it, there is not a square inch of planet Earth over which Christ does not say, Mine! This has implications for how we live our life, how we engage culture, how we work, and how we think about virtually everything.
----Here are the contents:
I. What is a Worldview
V. Discerning Structure and Direction
Post-Script: Worldview between Story and Mission
----Wolters lays out the basic biblical worldview, examining creation, fall, and redemption. In the chapter on Redemption, there is a section called 'Salvation as Restoration' which is worth the price of the book! Christ comes as the Last Adam to restore our humanity and return us to the original state, the way it was supposed to be. The new humanity is to be about renewal. We are to renew and reform all aspects of life in obedience to Christ (societal, cultural, political, and personal). In chapter 5, Wolters analyzes the following themes as test cases on how to apply our worldview: aggression, spiritual gits, sexuality, and dance.
----The Post-Script was written by Michael Goheen, and was excellent. It was basically a chapter on Biblical Theology and Mission, following the missional ecclesiology of Newbigin. We are in the era of witness, between the two comings. In the overlapping of the ages, the new humanity is to be about being Christ's ambassadors. In many ways, this chapter is his book, 'The Drama of Scripture,' chopped down to 24 pages. I highly recommend this one to all believers.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
C. L. Oaks
- Published on Amazon.com
I started reading Abraham Kuyper's "Lectures on Calvinism", but for some reason I purchased this book thinking I needed a primer first, even though I was enjoying Kuyper and finding him lucid and stimulating. Wolters does a decent job of laying out the fundamentals of a Reformed view of culture and the sacred/secular distinction (or lack thereof), but those already formally acquainted with this line of thinking from reading Francis Schaeffer, Hans Rookmaker,or any other Neo-Calvinst literature and desire something a bit more rigorous, should just dive right into Kuyper's "Lectures"; this purchase is superfluous except for those almost totally uninitiated with the Reformed worldview, or for the already-Reformed layman seeking to give better articulation to presently held beliefs.