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The conviction that the world may be transformed and regenerated by Christianity (“Christ the transformer of culture”) has been attributed to expressions that have theocratic tendencies, such as those of Efforts by scholars such as Troeltsch and Niebuhr to provide typical patterns of Christian relations to the world enable appreciation of the multiformity of these relationships without being overwhelmed by historical data.

These models relieve the illusion that the Christian community has ever been monolithic, homogeneous, or static.

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.

The first two are expressions of opposition to and endorsement of the world, while the last three share a concern to mediate in distinctive ways the opposition between the first two. ” This sharp opposition to the world was expressed in the biblical disjunction between the children of God and the children of the world and between “the light” and “the darkness” (1 John , 4:4–5; Revelation), and it has continued to find personal exponents, such as .

Although frequently associated with the medieval efforts to construct a Christian commonwealth, this type is present wherever national, social, political, and economic programs are “baptized” as Christian.

Thus, its historical expressions may be as diverse as the Jeffersonian United States and Hitlerian Germany.

The other three types that Niebuhr proposed are variations on the theme of mediation between rejection and uncritical endorsement of the world.

However, the Christian community has not always been a conservative force.