The way Christians have, for decades, felt about our place in the western world is this sense that, “we have brought so much good to western culture, and so we have earned the right to be heard, and earned the influence to bend culture towards our concerns.” This is generally the idea behind Christendom. It’s this idea that, for Christians, the west is “our home” and “our place” – this place where we are a majority that must protect the power and influence we have worked so hard to get for the good of us and everyone else. You can see very quickly how this mindset leads to the culture-war mindset so prevalent in so many Christians right now. But I hate to break the news, Christendom is dead and no longer is shared as a majority view in an increasing post-christian culture.
Now saying Christendom is dead, is not the same thing as saying Christianity is dead. Far from it. It’s just that we who are following Jesus have to redefine ourselves back to the way followers of Jesus started – as strangers and foreigners who engage culture less with the “You owe me” attitude, and more with the ongoing probing question that asks “How can we engage the culture we are in via the mission we are on?”
I encourage my readers to think critically about this issue a bit, and consider how your frame of reference as a follower of Christ may need to shift. To help explore this a bit more, take a moment to read Ed Stetzer’s fabulous Christianity Today article Our Call: Missionaries In A Secular Land to think through some of these vitally important ideas in your specific ministry context.