When the church goes to either of two extremes, and is so ‘in the world’ that it is of the world and worldly, or so ‘not of the world’ that it is otherworldly and might as well be out of the world altogether, it is powerless and utterly irrelevant. But when the church, through its faithfulness and its discernment of the times, lives truly ‘in’ but ‘not of’ the world, and is therefore the City of God engaging the City of Man, it touches off the secret of its culture-shaping power. For the intellectual and social tension of being ‘in’ but ‘not of’ the world provides the engagement-with-critical-distance that is the source of the church’s culture-shaping power.
Os Guinness in Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times
This is a tough balance to maintain, but an important one. We need to be diligent in figuring out what parts of the culture are validated by Scripture and what parts of culture are challenged by Scripture.
Perhaps we can raise up a generation of church leaders that will do a much better job of this than we have.