of Christian faith
by Herman Dooyeweerd
"The Christian idea of cultural development cannot be guided by an optimistic faith in the steady progress of civilization. It cannot be sacrificed to relativistic Historicism either. It remains ruled by the religious basic motive of the struggle between the civitas Dei and the civitas terrena in the temporal course of history, though eschatologically it remains directed to the ultimate victory of the Kingdom of God in Christ, to Whom has been given the fullness of power in the religious fulfilment of history [...]
The Christian Idea of development, therefore, cannot be narrow-minded. It recognizes any relative meaning-disclosure of civilization, even though positivized by anti-Christian powers.
Every spiritual movement, having the power of historical formation has to fulfil its own task as an instrument in the hand of God. Our developmental Idea has broken with any speculative philosophical or theological construction of periods in cultural development. And above all, it continues to observe the inner tension between sinful reality and the full demand of the Divine law.
This demand is terrifying when we consider how much the temporal ordinances labour under the destructive power of the fall into sin. Terrifying also, when it puts before us our task as Christians in the struggle for the power of cultural formation.
For it makes a demand on us which as sinful human beings we cannot satisfy in any way. And it urges us, in the misery of our hearts, to seek refuge with Christ, from Whose fulness, nevertheless, a Christian can derive the confidence of faith to carry on the ceaseless struggle for the control of cultural development. This is the remarkable 'nevertheless' of Christian faith.
Christian philosophic thought has to fight shy of self-exaltation, because it is directed in its root to Christ. The whole struggle that positive Christianity has to carry on for the direction of the opening-process is not directed against our fellow men, in whose sin we partake and whose guilt is ours and whom we should love as our neighbours. That struggle is directed against the spirit of darkness who dragged us all down with him in the apostasy from God, and who can only be resisted in the power of Christ.
As Christians we shall hate that spirit because of the love of God's creation in Christ Jesus."
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol 2 pp 364, 365)