Friday 24 April 2015

Al Wolters on the 30th Anniversary of Creation Regained

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Al Wolters’ Creation Regained, a relatively short but highly significant book. Many years ago, it was my first introduction to the whole notion of a ‘Christian worldview’, and its strong assertion that the God who creates all things will also redeem all things has been very influential on me, as it has on many others.

In Wolters’ own words, it’s a message that ‘stresses the breadth of Creation, the extent of the Fall, and most importantly, the fact that salvation in Jesus Christ really means a reclaiming, a regaining, of the entire length and breadth of Creation with all of its cultural domains’.

Marking the anniversary, Comment has carried a helpful two-part conversation on the book between Wolters and Brian Dijkema (here and here).

The first part of the conversation takes in the distinction between ‘structure’ (the way things are meant to be, the way God instituted them) and ‘direction’ (the way those things are either distorted or reclaimed in Christ), the educational and theological context in which the book was written, how Scripture shapes the framework outlined in the book, its place in the broader tradition of neo-Calvinism with its recovery of a biblical perspective on the relationship of creation and redemption, or nature and grace, and Wolters’ own scholarly journey.

The second part of the conversation looks at what’s changed since Creation Regained was published, and some of the places where it has been received, what the book has to say to a post-Christian culture, the vulnerability of Reformed thought to secularisation, and the benefit of a variety of strategic approaches to public life, depending on context.

One small point. As one who struggles with the language of ‘redeeming’ culture, I was interested to see Wolters say: ‘We should seek to redeem – actually, I don't like that word, redeem – we should seek to profess the claims of Christ in every area of life.’

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