Redeeming Sociology: A God-Centered Approach

Overview

In their pursuit of social welfare, sociologists and everyday citizens alike have adopted a worldview that fails to account for both the nature of God and the depravity of humankind. Ignoring God and sin has resulted in misguided analyses and ineffective solutions to societal issues. The time has come to rethink the study of sociology as those faulty assumptions have clearly affected the discipline as a whole.

Recognizing that human relationships are derived from the triune ...

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Redeeming Sociology: A God-Centered Approach

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Overview

In their pursuit of social welfare, sociologists and everyday citizens alike have adopted a worldview that fails to account for both the nature of God and the depravity of humankind. Ignoring God and sin has resulted in misguided analyses and ineffective solutions to societal issues. The time has come to rethink the study of sociology as those faulty assumptions have clearly affected the discipline as a whole.

Recognizing that human relationships are derived from the triune relationships within the Godhead, Poythress argues that social interactions must be assessed through a biblical framework that takes seriously the problem of sin. He has thus written this compelling volume to stimulate the reconfiguration and transformation of a worldview gone awry, helping us to think rightly about fallen human relationships and our models for understanding and improving them.

Redeeming Sociology advocates a biblically informed approach based on the Trinitarian nature of God, his governance of the world, and his redemption accomplished in Christ—a model that will help to reform the field of sociology as well as the beliefs and behaviors in our own relationships.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

“Using the triadic analytical technique derived from the truth of the Trinity, Poythress continues his quest for an undistorted, biblical understanding of the sciences, this time zeroing in on linguistics and sociology. This is a work of first-rate thinking. Demanding yet enriching, this book is a major contribution to modern reformation and its intellectual renewal.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“It is fairly common today for preachers and theologians to speak of relationships as crucial to the gospel, and to invoke the divine Trinity as the ultimate model therein, but this point has rarely been presented in theological depth. Poythress takes up that task, showing in great detail the biblical depth of this picture. He explains that human relationships make no sense apart from God's nature, creation, and providence. Indeed, this book presents a powerful argument against the exclusion of God from sociology and psychology. And it extends the argument of his recent books (on interpretation, science, and language) that the God of Scripture is the foundation for everything human.”
John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

“In the spirit of Abraham Kuyper, Vern Poythress has given us a valuable guide to thinking about godly relationships in our secular world. He develops a biblical understanding of how the distortions of sin have fractured our relationships with God and his people. I commend Poythress for his insightful thinking in this book, which joins the ranks of his similar contributions on science and literature.”
J. Lanier Burns, Research Professor of Theological Studies, Senior Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary

“Vern Poythress has done thinking Christians a great service by engaging in rigorous theological reflection on relationships—that all-important facet of human existence that we are inescapably immersed in, are shaped by, and yet often take for granted. Church leaders will benefit from this fine book.”
D. Michael Lindsay, President, Gordon College; author, Faith in the Halls of Power

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433521294
  • Publisher: Crossway Books
  • Publication date: 5/4/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Vern S. Poythress is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he has taught for over three decades. He has six earned degrees, including a PhD from Harvard University and a ThD from the University of Stellenbosch. He is the author of numerous books on a variety of topics, including biblical interpretation, language, and science.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Why Relationships? 11

Introduction: Considering Personal Relationships 15

1 The Importance of Relationships 17

Part 1 God's Involvement with Relationships

2 Relationships and the Trinity 23

3 God Creating Human Beings 30

4 God's Covenants 33

5 God Sustaining Relationships 48

6 Creativity in Relationships 51

7 Exploring Examples of Relationships 57

8 The Regularities of Human Relationships 66

9 God's Rule 71

10 Responding to God's Government 88

Part 2 From Big to Small: Relationships in the Context of History

11 Small Pieces of Human Action within the Big Pieces 95

12 World History 98

13 The Fall into Sin 103

14 Redemption through Christ 115

15 Peoples and Cultures 121

16 Principles for Cultural Reconciliation 127

17 Good and Bad Kinds of Diversity 133

18 Human Action 143

Part 3 Interpreting Human Relationships

19 Meanings in Personal Action 155

20 Social and Cultural Analysis 162

21 Interpreting God's Actions 173

22 Cultural Learning 182

23 Human Knowledge within Culture 190

Part 4 Smaller Wholes within Society

24 Varieties in Society 197

25 Authorities 206

26 Classifications of People 220

27 Social Equality and Inequality 225

28 Episodes 231

29 Transactions 237

30 Action in Steps 240

31 Subsystems for Human Action 243

32 Signs and Their Meanings 253

33 Foundations for Unified Signs 259

34 From Signs to Perspectives 266

Part 5 Applications

35 A Jigsaw Piece as a Perspective 271

36 Living in Relationships 275

Interaction with Other Approaches to Society and Relationships

Appendix A René Descartes's Method 281

Appendix B Modern Sociology 287

Appendix C "Scientific" Sociology 294

Appendix D Empathetic Sociologies 303

Appendix E Sociological Models 310

Appendix F Sociology of Knowledge 316

Appendix G Sociology and Postmodernism 324

Appendix H Postmodern Theology 327

Bibliography 331

General Index 337

Scripture Index 347

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