World-Formative Rest: Faithful Cultural Discipleship in a Secular Age

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My dissertation constructs a way to pursue faithful cultural discipleship in a secular age. Its chief concern is whether it is possible to reconcile, immediately in day-to-day cultural interactions, the Calvinist motivation to re-form culture and the Augustinian motivation to "rest" in the visio Dei. The fundamental thesis is that by painting and practicing a background picture that reconciles these Calvinist and Augustinian aims, Christians may become faithful cultural disciples—cultural disciples attuned, as it were, to "world-formative rest." The dissertation makes this argument in three parts—each of which focuses on what philosophers label our "background." Part I, while acknowledging that reconciling Calvinist and Augustinian aims is a perennial challenge, delineates the secular form this challenge takes in the twenty-first century. It unpacks how the background picture of our secular age poses a daunting challenge to faithful cultural discipleship. Part II outlines two key elements of an alternate background picture—a Neo-Augustinian theological anthropology and a Neo-Augustinian, Neo-Calvinist theological cosmology. Finally, Part III expounds the fit between these pictorial elements to paint an alternate background picture that "turns" us toward the experience of world-formative rest. In addition, this final section considers how Christians might practice this alternate background picture so it becomes more habitual, like a second-nature. In the end, the goal is to seek a form of discipleship whereby, in everyday cultural endeavors, Christians may proleptically experience the "chief end" of glorifying and enjoying God forever.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Theology (PhD in Theology)

First Advisor

Mouw, Richard

Document Type





Discipling (Christianity), Christianity and culture, Calvinist, Culture


Missions and World Christianity


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