[Biblemat] A> The Church’s Role in a Post-Christian World
Jeff S. Smith
texasjeffssmith at mac.com
Mon Apr 28 15:43:23 CDT 2008
The Church’s Role in a Post-Christian World
by Jeff S. Smith
The phrase “post-Christian world” is at once offensive and
demoralizing, but perhaps sadly accurate as well.
The popularity and influence of the Christian faith has been waning
ever since it reached its apex two centuries ago. Devout participation
in church is becoming rare throughout Europe and secular humanism in
our schools, courts and cultural fonts has emasculated a once solid
religious foundation in the United States. Even as the Middle Eastern
world enforces strict Muslim piety, the west is selling its collective
soul to a deified environment or an idolatry of materialism. We are
quickly becoming vulnerable to the devil or to a subtle Islamic
invasion or to amoral atheism.
To its discredit, our society has wearied of the Bible and decided to
forge ahead with a new morality that devalues traditional ethics and
validates iniquity (Isaiah 5:20). Churches, challenged to survive in
such conditions, fought valiantly for a while, but many have
surrendered to the marketplace and adopted a much softer stance, both
for Jesus and against sin.
It is not uncommon to see church advertisements that are completely
lacking any reference to the Lord, instead promoting gymnasiums,
daycare, banquets, dances and scout troops. Bible classes are replaced
with arcade hours and unless the snacks are free, the numbers decline.
To a society that finds devout Christianity offensive and threatening,
it is imperative that Church, Inc. carve out a new niche that studies
the market and gives it what it wants. The church’s role in a post-
Christian world is perceived to be almost anything except the Lord’s
original intent. Sadly, the itching ears have prevailed and the
denominational church has become little more than a carnal fellowship
of spectators and fun-seekers (2 Tim. 4:1-5).
Churches of Christ are naturally tempted to follow suit – many already
have and a few are actually leading the way. Faithful brethren,
however, will insist upon soundness of doctrine and practice,
regardless of their lack of appeal to a community in search of thrills
and meals (1 Tim. 6:3). Sound preaching is not spiritless, but neither
is it afraid to exhort and convict, labeling sin for what it is and
calling its practitioners to reform (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Worship will
continue to be both in spirit and in truth, without devolving into an
exercise in musical or comedic entertainment (John 4:23-24). A sound
church will function as an outpost of stability and truth in a world
bent on self-service and convenient error (1 Tim. 3:15).
The role of the churches of Christ in a disinterested world is to
continue proclaiming the gospel and seeking the few with honest hearts
who will see through the flimsiness of perverted messages and obey the
truth (Rom. 2:8, Galatians 1:6-8). If the church changes just to
survive, it won’t be the church anymore, but another in a long line of
highly flawed denominational experiments (1 Cor. 1:10-13). A real
failure (Revelation 3:1-6).
Jeff S. Smith
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