A Holistic Christian worldview: Redemption

By Dr. Ken Turnbull, Founding ACU Vice-Chancellor
Published October, 2014

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
~ Colossians 1:19-20

The wisdom of the holistic Christian worldview comes by it being unified in the fear of the Lord. Misunderstanding the totality of God’s sovereignty over ALL things can lead us towards two errors that were described in parts 1 and 2 of this series. (1) We may diminish the significance of God’s transcendent laws over all societal and cultural norms, realising that these governing, creational laws are equal with His laws governing all of nature. (2) We may mistake the directional effects of sin on creation from God’s creational structures. The result of both of these errors leads the Christian to take shelter in a falsely constructed comfort of separating the sacred and the secular. Let’s examine this in more detail as we look into the holistic Christian worldview in redemption.

Redemption literally means to “buy back”. It evokes paying the ransom to buy back the original freedom of one seized and now in bondage. Reconciliation also has a prefix of “re-“ indicating going back to an original state. In this case evoking a friendship that has been severed and is being reconciled or returned to the original state of friendship and alliance. Virtually all of the basic biblical terminology of salvation refers to a return to an originally good state. Consider “renewal” - making new again; “regeneration” - returning to life after the entrance of death; “restoration” - returning to the original, unscathed condition; the Greek word for “salvation”: sōtēria generally has the meaning “health” or “security” after sickness or danger. All of these suggest a restoration of some good thing that was spoiled or lost. To God, the restoration of all things (and think cosmic in the comprehensiveness of all things) was worth the life of His Son. In Christ, we are rightly reinstated as God’s stewards on earth. In Christ, we are to fulfil the original creation mandate to fill and subdue the earth, and to cultivate and keep the garden of culture in which we live. We must redeem all into which we involve ourselves in Christ. Marriage is not to be avoided, but to be sanctified; our emotions are not repressed, but purified; sexuality is not shunned, but redeemed; education cannot be left to the maelstrom of secular humanism, but must be recreated in the Biblical worldview; politics is not off-limits, but reformed; art is not pronounced worldly, but claimed for Christ; business is not a secular practice, but is brought under God-honouring standards. All aspects of the life and work of the redeemed in Christ must yield to His sovereign restoration working through His grace.

The permanent temptation in Christian thinking is to shelter ourselves from the challenging and daunting work of Christ in restoration. Knowing that the societal norms of our fallen culture contradict the truth of God, we turn our backs on the culture and find our comfort within the shelter of our like-minded friends in the church. We avoid the soiling work of bringing Christ’s redemption into the fallen world. We readily succumb to limiting the kingdom of our labours to the church. The full-time ministry is only what pastors and missionaries do. They are set aside for the kingdom work while the rest of us work in the world to support the work of the church with our finances. We separatethe kingdom of God from the secular realm. This restricts Christ’s sovereign lordship. He is Lord of ALL, not just that considered to be sacred. Christ reclaims all of creational life. This was the core of the Reformation - to bring the lordship of Christ over every aspect of life. God is reconciling ALL things to Himself through the blood of the cross of Christ. Next, part four will complete this series by examining the final restoration of all things united in Christ.

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