Chapter 1: Worldviews at Work
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you go to work every day? The opening chapter of LifeWork asks us to examine our worldview in order to answer this question. Providing an overview of the impact that both secularism and animism have on our view of work, Darrow argues that the evangelical church has opted for a Christian version of dualism, pitting the spiritual realm against the physical realm, with the spiritual realm being “higher” and more important, while our work falls within the lower secular realm.
Chapter 2: How Did We Get Here? Dualism throughout History
The Bible offers a unified version of life and relationship with God that the modern church has abandoned. Chapter 2 offers an overview of how we reached this state, starting with Plato and moving forward through history via Gnosticism, Pietism, the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the Modern era. The Church’s ultimate response was to make a distinction between “full time Christians” engaged in ministry and “part time Christians” who work in the marketplace. The majority of Christians working in the secular realm are seen as having second-class status.
Chapter 3: The Sacred-Secular Dichotomy: An Entire Worldview
Dualism is itself a complete worldview, which shapes how a person views their whole existence, including their view of life and work. In this chapter, Darrow outlines how a dualistic worldview affects areas of faith such as the spirit-body; heart-mind; and ends-means.
Chapter 4: One Lord, One Realm: A Parable
The Parable of the Minas, found in Luke 19:11-27, is introduced as a central passage to begin our understanding of life and work from the basis of a biblical worldview. This chapter focuses on the parable’s message that the kingdom of God is a present reality; in turn, Christians should adopt a theology of action, working towards the kingdom’s current expansion.
Chapter 5: Coram Deo: Before the Face of God
In this chapter, Darrow introduces the concept that nothing we do is hidden from God, and that we should be consciously living our lives coram Deo, “before the face of God.” Using a number of Scriptures, Darrow shows us that humans were made for an intimate relationship with God, and all our daily hours, including those spent at work, are to be lived coram Deo. When we live “before the face of God,” the secular lives in the presence of the sacred.
Chapter 6: The Need for a Biblical Theology of Vocation
We all live out a particular theology, and Darrow contends that the vast majority of Christians have never reflected on whether their particular theology is Biblical. By living unexamined lives, we tend to follow a well-worn routine, never stopping to ask ourselves: Why do I work? What is the purpose of work? To answer these questions, Darrow introduces the comprehensive Biblical Story, with its breadth, depth, as the overall user’s manual for life.
Chapter 7: The Essential Metanarrative
History is HIS-story. This chapter traces story of the Bible from Creation, the Fall, Redemption, and Consummation. Darrow then concludes by tying the Bible’s metanarrative to the significance of our lifework.
Chapter 8: Culture: Where the Physical and Spiritual Meet
Culture is not neutral; God has provided an objective reality with which to test culture. In Chapter 8 Darrow shows us how all Christians are to be culture makers, based on the Cultural Mandate found in Genesis 1:26-28. All nations manifest aspects of kingdom culture, counterfeit culture and natural culture, and as Christians we are called to advance kingdom culture.
Chapter 9: Elements of the Cultural Mandate
This chapter takes a closer look at the Cultural Mandate, breaking it down into the Societal Mandate and the Developmental Mandate. In addition, Darrow provides insight into the work God created us to do in creating and advancing kingdom culture.
Chapter 10: The Fall, the Cross, and Culture
We live and work in a fallen world, what Darrow calls a “bent world.” One consequence is that many people, Christians included, see work as a curse. In this chapter, Darrow reminds us that Jesus’ work on the Cross redeemed our lives and work, and thus we should see our work, whether we be teachers, bankers, pastors or homemakers, as an opportunity to create kingdom culture.
Chapter 11: The Call: Lifework
As children of God, we all have two callings. First, we are called to Salvation. This is our primary call, without which we will not experience our secondary call: the call to a particular vocation, or occupation, from which we are to advance the kingdom of God. Chapter 11 includes an overview of the word “call” and shows how we are both equipped by, and made for, the Caller.
Chapter 12: The General Call: To Life
In order to respond to the comprehensiveness of the Fall, God’s salvation through Christ is equally comprehensive. Darrow uses Colossians 1:19-20 to show us that Jesus’ work on the cross was comprehensive. Through the process of salvation, outlined in this chapter by an in depth look at the word “saved,” we come to see how our lives and work are related to God’s work of reconciling all things to himself.
Chapter 13: The Particular Call: To Work
Having just studied our primary call to salvation in Chapter 12, Darrow now show us that we are saved for the particular in extending the kingdom of God. Through this chapter, he points out how our vocational calls are unique, and yet are all to have the same goal in mind: the creation and advance of kingdom culture. Ultimately, while we have been saved for heaven, we have also been saved for earth, to serve Christ and his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Chapter 14: Characteristics of our Lifework
Chapter 14 looks at four important guidelines we should follow as we seek to walk in our lifework: the primacy of grace, the redemption of both time and space, the expression of God’s excellence and the revelation of God’s glory.
Chapter 15: Stewardship: The Protestant Ethic
Instead of seeing the material world as unimportant Darrow argues that we must allow the Bible to shape our view of economics. In this chapter John Wesley’s motto is introduced (“Gain all you can; save all you can; give all you can”) as a basis for how Christians should view economics and stewardship.
Chapter 16: The Economics of Giving: Generous Compassion
Darrow argues that giving is a vital part of our lifework, and so devotes chapter 16 to this issue. Using three relationships as the heart of giving – to God in worship; to creation in stewardship; and to our fellow humans in charity – Darrow walks us through a study of Biblical giving.
Chapter 17: The Kingdom Advances from the Inside Out
As a stone thrown into a still lake creates a ripple that extend to the shores, so the Kingdom advance from the inside out, starting with internal heart and mind transformation and rippling outward into the social sphere—the family, church, nation and world.
Chapter 18: The Gates of the City
In Old Testament times, the leaders of each city would gather at its gates to discuss public matters and life in general. Chapter 18 offers an in depth look at the function of these gates, and calls modern Christians to take our place at the gates of our cities nations.
Chapter 19: The Domains
After issuing a call for Christians to reclaim the gates of our cities, Darrow looks at specific domains where we can occupy the gates, offering practical examples of how we can be involved in each domain, including government, education and the arts.
Chapter 20: The Great Commandment
Jesus told his followers to “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:36-40). It is this Great Commandment, Darrow says, that should be the basis for all our work regardless of our vocation. Chapter 20 shows us how to live out the Great Commandment in four specific areas: the sanctity of human life; the emancipation of slaves; dignity and respect for women; and mercy and compassion for the poor.
Chapter 21: Serving as Gatekeepers
We are to be ‘kingdomizers’ in order to see cultures transformed and nations discipled. In this chapter, Darrow explains both how to occupy the gates in principal and in practice. The life of the great Protestant missionary William Carey is examined as an example of how to be a kingdomizer.
Chapter 22: The Body of Christ: Churches without Walls
Jesus has overcome death. The kingdom of light has won! Unfortunately, many modern churches do not act upon this mindset. Instead, they hide behind their buildings, warding off the kingdom of darkness. Darrow passionately argues that churches must move forward as an incarnational community, which gathers for worship and equipping, and then scatters into the world for service and discipling.
Chapter 23: Occupy Till I Come
In this final chapter, Darrow offers a clarion call: a reminder that Jesus wants us to occupy territory for Him. The place of our occupation is to be the place where we claim ground for Christ and his kingdom. Using the D-Day Invasion of World War II to illustrate, Darrow encourages us to move forward into enemy territory and advance God’s Kingdom.
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