A growing movement that began in the 1950s set in motion a catastrophic chain of events. What became known as Postmodernism, with its deconstructionism (relativism) and skepticism, matured at the turn of the century. It laid the groundwork for something even more devastating to American church culture: Post-Christianity.
The term Post-Christianity refers to the decline of Christianity’s preeminence in American culture. Up to this point the Christian worldview was the reference point for all matters of life and culture in America. That quickly began to change. Church attendance currently appears to be in a free fall and church leaders are no longer considered the primary purveyors of moral values, wisdom or knowledge. Consequently, the Bible is no longer esteemed as “the Word of God” and Christian traditions are deemed outdated.
The Christian worldview has already “gone the way of the dodo” in Europe. Christianity is considered a cultural relic of the Dark Ages. Churches are empty and secularism is trumpeted as the societal norm. Sadly, America is hastily following in Europe’s footsteps.
This is not a new phenomenon. It also played out in the 13th Century BC with the death of Joshua, Moses’ successor. In the biblical Book of Judges we find the Israelites abandoning their spiritual roots, resulting in idolatry and relativism.
The people served the Lord during the lifetime of Joshua and during the lifetimes of the elders who lived after Joshua and who had seen what great things the Lord had done for Israel…
After those people had died, their children grew up and did not know the Lord or what he had done for Israel. So they did what the Lord said was wrong, and they worshiped the Baal idols. – Judges 2:7, 10-11 NCV
An interesting fact about the Book of Judges is that its account follows a thematic order, rather than a chronological one. The events in chapter 21 actually occur around the same time as those in chapter 2. So the moral depravity that comes from a relativistic worldview was rampant after a generation that didn’t know about God or His works came of age. And it caused the people to abandon their faith wholesale!
Sound familiar? It should. The American Church has lost its edge. Even up to a generation ago we still had a large amount of influence on American society and culture. Unfortunately that’s not the case anymore. But it’s not too late to make the necessary changes!
The Post-Christian cultural shift presents some unique challenges for the Church. But along with the challenges come some incredible opportunities. In order for us to meet these challenges we will have to adapt. Post-Christianity is actually a positive thing in that it is waking up a Church that has been asleep for far too long. Many Christians have been playing “church” while the world runs farther and farther away from God. It’s time we choose to engage the world around us instead of retreating into our safe little Christian huddle. There’s much to be done and God is counting on us!
In The Coming Post-Christian Tsunami I outline six critical components of effective ministry in a Post-Christian context. They were tested and proven during our 13 years of training church leaders and planting churches in secular Europe. These six components will work for churches of any size, style and denomination. Churches implementing some or all of these principles are already experiencing growth. When the book is released you will find additional training materials on this website to help you apply what you’ve read.
The Coming Post-Christian Tsunami – coming soon to bookstores and online retailers.