Thursday, June 26, 2014

Paper: Churches after Christendom - synopsis and comments

Church After Christendom is a book written by Stuart Murray

William H. Gross of Colorado Springs has made a synopsis of each chapter with some further comments in the article that is available here 

His opening comments are:
The Church as we know it isn’t going away like yesterday’s news. And the postmodern world isn’t overtaking us as quickly as some might fear. But the interaction between the existing Church and the changing world is never going to be what it was – it never has been. The Church must change its tune for a world that needs our lyric but has stopped listening to our music. This doesn’t mean we need to “accommodate” the world, in the sense of adopting its thinking and its ways; but we do need to “adapt” our message in a way that takes them into account. We need to recognize the times (Matt 16:3), tailoring our language, form, and outreach to match what we see. But what are the signs, and how should we adapt to them? Murray proposes that there was a pre-Christendom world prior to the 4th century, an Age of Christendom that extended to the 18th century, and then a gradual metamorphosis into a post-Christendom world. What characterized Christendom was its cultural predominance – its universal expression in society and government, and the general membership of those who lived in Western culture.
This book identifies the cultural changes that have been taking place over several decades, ostensibly in England, but in America as well. It also examines the current “condition” of the Church. Murray raises a number of questions, and he brings to bear a number of relevant facts. He then presents a series of alternative approaches for our serious discussion and review. It’s still a fresh millennium. We need to set some appropriate goals and develop a reasonable plan of action for this generation in which God has called us to arise. We need to do it corporately. We need to do it quickly, humbly, shrewdly, and biblically. We need to stop using worldly ways and return to our spiritual foundations. We need to stop making our churches ends in themselves. We need to rebuild them as a means of equipping the saints for works of ministry (Eph 4:12). These are Murray’s primary points. While I disagree with some of his premises and a number of the solutions in this book, I wholeheartedly agree with the issues he raises. I’m also grateful for all the information he provides. So be cautious in what you take away from all this.

No comments: