After writing the last post a very interesting power point presentation was brought to my attention (you can download it here). I encourage you to take a look at it, it is very interesting. The study details the decline of American churches by percentage of the overall population. While this is reason for many Christians to rant and rave about how much worse our culture is getting, the researchers of this study state the following conclusions:

American Culture is becoming more:

  • Post-Christian
  • Postmodern
  • Multiethnic

For Many Christians, this causes a Fear Reaction. Instaed of Fear, Rejoice – the world that is coming is very much like the Mediterranean World of the Early Church. We need to model our church’s mission on the early church’s mission to the Gentiles.

Christendom and a Christianized Culture have allowed the Church to talk about Jesus in a second-hand manner. We need to restor the priority of Jesus in our communication, engaging people with the words and actions of Jesus.

To draw such hopeful conclusions from data that supports the reality of the steady decline of American churches is, in my mind, a very mature Christian response to this fact. It seems to me that when Church and Empire or Church and Culture get in bed together it never makes for good, authentic Christianity. Let’s face it, Jesus was never a comfortable figure, he was radical. The early church was radical. Not in the sense of crazy and bizarre, but in the sense of strongly standing up to and against the norm of the day. It is here that the church can do its best work, when it has reason to say Jesus is Lord and the rulers of this world are not! I pray that the church can become that again.