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Dual Citizens: Living as Culturally-Engaged Christians in First Peter

It seems like it would be good for more than two or three people to read something that I worked so hard on. So over the next couple of days or weeks, I'm going to post my paper I wrote last week.


Since Abraham, the people of God have been wrestling with how to interact with the cultures around them. Abraham prayed for and interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah, however eminent their destruction. Jacob deceived everyone with whom he came into contact. Joseph rose through the ranks of Egyptian royalty eventually using his authority to bring reconciliation to his brothers, who sold him into slavery. When Israel’s sanctuary in Egypt turned into slavery, Moses had to interact with Pharaoh for their freedom. When Joshua led the people of Israel across the Jordan, they had to fight with those who already lived there for the land that God had given them. Even when the kingdom of Israel was established, the Philistines, the Amalekites, the Ammonites, and the Syrians were constantly asserting their culture over that of the Israelites. Lucien Legrand, in his book The Bible on Culture, shows how, throughout the Scriptures, the people of God both rejected and embraced the cultures around them. In the history of Israel, God raised up persons to play the prophet, which warned against establishing themselves as a kingdom—like all the other nations—and at the same he selected for them a king to rule over them.[1] Moving into the New Testament, Legrand looks at both Jesus and Paul. Both lived and moved through different cultures. Jesus, embodying the culture around him, spoke Aramaic and obeyed the Torah, but he did not fit neatly into the subcultures of the day either.[2] Paul, on the other hand, fit himself into all categories. Legrand goes so far as to have three chapters on the man, which focus on his Jewish-ness, his Greek-ness, and the integration of the two.[3] Paul, himself, writes in 1 Corinthians 9:19 that though he is free from all, he has made himself a servant of all—to the Jew a Jew and to the Greek a Greek. To summarize, the interactions between the people of God and the cultures around them have found many different forms throughout the history of redemption. This paper seeks to show that the former conversations between Christ and Culture are no longer valid because they are based in Christendom. Instead we need a different cultural hermeneutic that is based on the concept of dual citizenship found in 1 Peter.

[1] Lucien Legrand, The Bible on Culture, (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2004), 18.

[2] Ibid., 83-96.

[3] Ibid., 115-151.