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The “Christ and culture in paradox” type views the Christian community’s relationship to the world in terms of a permanent and dynamic tension in which the kingdom of God is not of this world and yet is to be proclaimed in it.
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It has served the typical religious function of legitimating social systems and values and of creating structures of meaning, plausibility, and compensation for society as it faces loss and .
The Christian community has sometimes exercised this religious function in collusion with tribalistic nationalisms (e.g., the “German Christians” and Nazism) by disregarding traditional church tenets.
This “many-sidedness” may be seen in the Christian community’s relationships to the state, society, education, the arts, social welfare, and family and personal life. The political power of the Christian proclamation of the coming sovereignty of God resided in its promise of both the establishment of a kingdom of peace and the execution of judgment.
The church, like the state, has been exposed to the temptation of power, which resulted in the transformation of the church into an ecclesiastical state.
When the Christian community has held to its teachings, however, it has opposed such social systems and values.
Given the inherent fragility of human culture and society, religion in general and the Christian community in particular frequently are conservative forces.
The Niebuhr further developed Troeltsch’s efforts by distinguishing five repetitive types of the Christian community’s relations to the world.
Niebuhr’s types are: Christ against culture, Christ of culture, Christ above culture, Christ and culture in paradox, and Christ the transformer of culture.
In the modern period some Christian communities regard secularization as a fall from true Christianity; others view it as a legitimate consequence of a desacralization of the world initiated by Christ.
The Christian community has always been part of the world in which it exists.
This development took place in both the toward the existing political order was determined by the imminent expectation of the kingdom of God, whose miraculous power had begun to be visibly realized in the figure of Jesus Christ.