The following is something I wrote to a friend of mine which gives a brief sketch as to why I am disallusioned with Kuyper's "transform the culture" approach. (I think even Kuyper recognized the error in this approach before he died.)
I am disallusioned with "transform the culture" b/c I think it has led to numerous errors; although one cannot say "such-and-such leads to such-and-such," I have seen some of my friends who dabbled in theonomy end up in the Federal Vision camp; I have seen some of them embrace Eastern Orthodoxy; one of them has embraced Anglicanism and last I heard he was dabbling in Eastern Orthodoxy; I have gone to some of these guys' conferences and came away under the impression that all that was taking place was the social gospel, and I could go on.
To bring it to the point, the "transform the culture" approach seems to me to never deal with the heart. So we strive to make Christ Lord over every area of life and thought--but do we bind the consciences of unbelievers when we tell them to do this? God is interested in conquering people's hearts, not just their heads. If, by implementing biblical law, or whatever, someone changes a pagan homosexual to a pagan heterosexual, that may be good for society, but all we've done is just created another Pharisee. He may be hetero now, but he's still an unbeliever.
I've seen the "church" talk about outreach by building houses for orphans in Mexico; but that's all they did--they never preached them the gospel or anything. Now we have some comfortable, unbelieving orphans.
What is the greatest problem people have? It is that their hearts need to be changed. I think that the church today is not doing its job of being the church.What is the job of the church? To be the home of weary Christian pilgrims, and to strengthen them and protect them through Word, Sacrament, and prayer and preaching. The Church is like a nurturing mother, or should be. When we go to church, we should come away feeling refreshed, and not come away learning who to vote for or how to come down on the next moral issue in politics. The Church is other-worldly, not this-worldly.
It seems to me that, when one takes a "transform the culture" type approach, it will always inevitably lead to a kind of moralism. I don't think it's a surprise at all that evangelicalism is moralistic to the core. It's rare to find the gospel preached in evangelicalism. Most of the time it becomes a list of do's and don'ts that Scripture never prescribes. It becomes man-made rules.
Likewise, I don't think it's a coincidence that the Reformed folks who have dabbled in theonomy and Kuyperianism started getting away from the simplicity of the gospel and started getting into the social gospel. For example, I was at a conference a couple of years ago at one of Bahnsen's flagships. In this conference, it talked about showing movies from a Christian perspective to "take back the culture." It showed a brief clip of a movie by Tony Campolo (yes, Tonly Campolo of all people) in which the plot was that a young Christian threw a birthday party for a prostitute. Then they prayed for her at the end. After the movie, the audience and speakers discussed the movie and they called what the young man did for the prostitute "the gospel." They said he was practicing "the gospel"! One of my friends raised his hand and challenged this and he got his head chewed off. Afterwards, I came away from that conference feeling like I had just attended an evangelical (not a Reformed) conference. Furthermore, my friend's wife made an excellent point. If what that Christian young man did was "the gospel", how is that not any different than Angelina Jolee and Brad Pitt adopting orphans? Are Jolee and Pitt practicing "the gospel"?? Well, they may be practicing the social gospel, but not the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
That, in a nutshell, is why I am so disallusioned with Kuyperianism. It is not the Church's job to transform the culture. Furthermore, this seems to have a low view of common grace. In fact, R.J. Rushdoony said that common grace needed to be abandoned as a "bastard system." I don't think that's a coincidence either. His "transform the culture by biblical law" approach made him a moralist. He had no appreciation for common grace.
In the real world, we live with unbelievers all around us. This is why I appreciate the two kingdoms approach (although I'm still studying it), which says that God rules the kingdom of the left hand, or the civil kingdom, through natural law, and He rules the kingdom of the right hand, or the Church, through Word, Sacrament, and discipline. I find this approach to be Scriptural for numerous reasons, at least prima facie. I plan on doing a post or posts on this in the future.
Sorry to ramble on, but that is a sketch of where I am.