Taken from Tim Keller’s book, The Gospel in Life (p 125-126).
1 – assimilating the city
Christians simply give in and adopt the pagan culture’s values and worldview. The goal is to blend in and lose any distinct identity. Judges gives us many examples of this. By the time of Samson (Judg. 14-16), the Israelites were so accommodated to Philistine culture that they were within a generation of losing all distinct identity.
2 – reflecting the city
Christians keep some aspects of Christian faith and practice, but they adopt the more fundamental values and worldviews of the dominant culture. Faith is for Sunday services and does not shape the way they actually live. Their lifestyle is fundamentally no different form those around them. Thus they are just a subset of the dominant culture. The story of Micah and his mother in Judges 17-18 is a great example.
3 – despising the city
Christians respond to the prevailing culture with superiority and hostility. They feel polluted by the presence of the unbelieving schools, entertainment, and arts. Some take a more passive approach and withdraw from any real interaction, just denouncing and bewailing the moral decay, while others aim to acquire cultural power. Psalm 137 gives us a picture of people who are more angry than repentant over their new powerless situation, and who cannot envision how they can worship outside of the land where they had sovereignty.
4 – ignoring the city
Christians respond not with too much pessimism but too much optimism. They expect a miraculous, sweeping intervention by God, which will convert many or most and explosively transform the culture. Consequently, instead of becoming deeply engaged with the society and people around them, working with others to help with the troubles and problems, Christians concentrate completely on building up the church and their own numbers. Christians are pressed to go into ministry but not to become playwrights, artists, lawyers, or business people. They are just “passing through,” and not becoming involved. The prophet Hananiah in Jeremiah 28 is a great example of this kind of approach.
5 – loving the city
Christians engage with the dominant culture, but in ways that reveal the distinctiveness of the values of the kingdom of God. They are at their core very different in the way they understand money, relationships, human life, sex, and so on. Christians are truly residents of the city, yet not seeking power over or the approval of the dominant culture. Rather, they show the world an alternative way of living and of being a human community. For example, they are actively involved in serving those around them in deeds of mercy and justice. Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles in chapter 29 is a good example of this.