Thursday, December 30, 2010

Can Christianity Find It’s Way in the New Roman Empire? - Part 1

Ross Douthat is a columnist and blogger for the New York Times. His articles appear in newspapers across the country. I find him insightful, and I make a point to read his daily column. One of his recent columns peeked my attention. It’s titled, “Christianity Struggles with a Changing Culture”. The article is based on two recently published books. The first is American Grace written by Harvard’s Robert Puttnam and Notre Dame’s David Campbell. The other book, To Change the World, is from a University of Virginia sociologist, James Davison Hunter, who coined the term, cultural war.

The conclusions of the two books is something that most committed Christians who take their faith seriously would probably agree with—that Christianity is not doing a very good job competing in an ever-changing culture. The column points to Christianity in general has been a good thing for the advancement of society as a whole. But, in recent years, the winds of change have led to a decrease in the influence of Christianity. Some argue that Christianity is no longer relevant or capable of impacting modern society. In other words, Christianity is under siege.

These events have led Christianity into what Hunter calls a cul-de-sac mentality or what others might call a bunker mentality. I would have to agree because I have seen it firsthand. A significant part of the body of Christ now lives in what I call a Christian subculture. We now have Christian schools, clubs, movies, music, books, and theme parks. And a significant part of the homeschool movement is also Christian-based. What the article fails to understand is that Christians have created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Christian young people who are raised up in this environment lack the ability to interact or communicate with, understand, and influence today’s society and culture. They have lost their missional focus and, with that, dies the ability to spread the Gospel. We have gotten off the boat and have become fearful of the mainstream culture that we feel will overwhelm our young people and turn them away from Christ.

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