From Europe, the post-Christian world has arrived in the US: God is Dead, and the only thing Man is sure of is that he is sure of nothing. Author, Dr. Vishal Mangalwadi, reminds us that we knew that if we allowed the philosophers to kill God, then “everything (including goodness and beauty and truth) that flowed from God must die,” Nietche said so over 100 years ago.
We haven’t lacked a response. While many churches, suffering from ever declining attendance, hold stalwartly to the historic faith, other churches have gone one of two ways, either in collusion with the ideas of the new post-Christian world or attempting to simply isolate the Church away from it.
Collusion can take the form of an emphasis on the personal experience over reason, denial of rationality while embracing paradox as a mark of truth, embrace of full-blown post-modern Emergentism, or simply the struggle of youth and young adult ministries to remain “relevant”. Following a theology heavily influenced by Friedrich Schleiermacher or Karl Barth, we see an emphasis on the “heart” (in the Western, non-Biblical sense), emotionalism as worship, irrational “leap of faith” conversion and experiential encounter over doctrine.
Isolation takes the form of Christian copies of secular attractions so that you have no need to go anywhere else. You can get your Christian art, music, movie theater, rock concert, apparel and literature right here. No need to get twisted up in a world that hates Jesus and wants to lie to you. Just let our leaders try to mitigate the damage through political action while you enjoy a latte at the christian coffee shop.
Meanwhile, in secular culture, post-modernism has given rise to considered responses in philosophy and critical theory called post-postmodernism, and some Christians have responded to Liberalism by nuancing key ideas in the form of post-liberalism.
If the Church of the 21st century is to adroitly handle these new conditions and proclaim the faith once and for all delivered to the Saints, we, the common churchgoing Christian, must not be unaware, either of how we already capitulate to the fundamental ideas that drive these movements or how the faith we proclaim provides answers that are compelling and true.
To that end, Lindsay Brooks asked Reverend Kent Moorlach of Communion Presbyterian Church and Dr. Timothy Finlay of Azusa Pacific University to help us sort through the ideas and think about how to chart a course that is not reactionary or alarmist, but based on sound Biblical apologetics and sound historical analysis.