In Christianity and Civilization, First Part: Foundations, Brunner attempts to work out something like a Christian philosophy of civilization dealing with some basic principles which underlie all civilization. The author approaches his task systematically, beginning with the ‘problem of being’, and then, having established God as creator the world and thus the primary reality and the world as a secondary dependent being, he turns to and builds on civilization’s relation to truth, time, meaning, man’s place in the universe and so forth. In the end, he posits that civilization potentially proves vacuous and destructive if it is divorced from its Christian foundation and context.
In Christianity and Civilization, Second Part: Specific Problems, Brunner offers a Christian interpretation of some of the main features of civilized life, which include technics, science, tradition, work, art, wealth, law and power. In the final chapter, Brunner returns to his first lecture and the question: What is Christian civilization? He argues that the essence of civilization is the formation of human life which has its origins not in mere biological necessity but in spiritual impulses. Brunner understands that prospects seem to be very bad for the realization of the Christian idea. He insists, that we cannot be pessimistic. In his epilogue, Brunner states that the gospel of the redemption and salvation of the world in Jesus Christ is not meant to be a program for any kind of civilization or culture. Culture and civilization, even at their best, are temporal and belong to this earthly life. The Gospel, however, is revelation of eternal life, which indicates that humankind is not meant to pass away but is destined by the Creator for eternity.