The “Christ and culture in paradox” type views the Christian community’s relationship to the world in terms of a permanent and dynamic tension in which the kingdom of God is not of this world and yet is to be proclaimed in it.
A well-known expression of this position is ’s law–gospel dialectic, distinguishing how the Christian community is to live in the world as both sinful and righteous at the same time.
This development took place in both the toward the existing political order was determined by the imminent expectation of the kingdom of God, whose miraculous power had begun to be visibly realized in the figure of Jesus Christ.
For example, early Christians so consistently rejected imperial deities that they were known as , proclaimed that true Christians should divest themselves of money at the same time that the Catholic church erected magnificent churches and the clergy dressed in elaborate finery.
Another classic example of this paradoxical relationship is provided by the , who withdrew from the world but also preserved and transmitted Classical culture and learning to medieval Europe.
When the Christian community has held to its teachings, however, it has opposed such social systems and values.
Given the inherent fragility of human culture and society, religion in general and the Christian community in particular frequently are conservative forces.
Thus, its historical expressions may be as diverse as the Jeffersonian United States and Hitlerian Germany.