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The Decline of Christianity

May 30, 2007

With all the talk of Christianity shifting to the southern contients, what are we to make of the so-called Christian West? It is true that missionaries are steadily sent from Africa, Korea, and China to re-evangelize the West. Is it also true that the West must necessarily decline in Christian faith due to the overwhleming evidence and advance of modernism? Rationality trumps faith, so Christianity declines?

In his book, The Death of Christian Britain: Understanding secularization 1800–2000, Callum Brown applies the Postmodern lens to trimphalistic secularisation. He contends that the West, Britain in particular, did not steadly decline due to secularization, but rather was a force to reckon with for a good part of the 20th century. His primary argument is based on non-emperical measurements of Christianity. Instead of relying on statistics, he examines the social discourse of Christianity in Britain, noting that self-identity and culture have been consistently shaped by Christianity, whether people are in church or not.

What of the U.S.? There seems to be a steady flow of Christian discourse in politics, science, literature, etc. Although no county has seen overall growth in the past few years, Christianity seems to still get press. Has Christianity been effectively banished by statistics or is there something to the lingring Christian social discourse?

See review here.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. saraianne permalink
    May 30, 2007 9:39 pm

    There IS “something to the lingering Christian social discourse”… The whole point is Christ… Jesus Christ. The reason Christianity lingers is because Christ is ALIVE. He is STILL alive. The whole truth and foundation of Christianity is Christ suffering our punishment, dying, and conquering death so we can LIVE. I met the LIVE Christ 20 years ago. I have always been an analyzer (long story). As I have gone on with Christ, He has taken away from me my NEED to understand everything before I will trust Him. That’s why you can’t have Jesus manifesting in your life apart from faith. Believing He exists, and rewarding those who faithfully follow Him. I asked Him a really intellectual question one time… It was “Show me You’re real, or I’m checking out, because I don’t want to live another 33 yrs. of this” As I have gotten to know Him (yes, believe it or not, we TALK. Like in dreams, music, the Word of God. Not audible, or voices…although sometimes He can make something so unavoidably clear to me, it seems like He literally speaks) I don’t know if he’ll talk to people who just want to use Him, or mock Him (didn’t have much to say to Pilate). He has much to say to His church, but speaks through prophetic types, those who have ears. His disciples asked him why he spoke in parables, and then explained them in private to his followers. He said only those with ears to hear will hear God. John the apostle recorded that Jesus said the one who has the commandments and keeps them, loves God, and God will manifest Himself to him. Maybe the reason, the MANIFESTATION of love, and true Christianity is waning is because it’s getting hard to find a place where the Scriptures, or prayer in Jesus name is allowed. How does anyone know the commandments anymore? They are not even allowed in public. Unlike maybe classes in PUBLIC colleges on ISLAM. Why would God manifest Himself to people who don’t want Him to be God over their lives? Christianity is waning, because it has been the same since the garden. In the garden Satan told Eve (and Adam…he was right there) that they could be like God. Do your own thing…you don’t need God. So maybe He’s going to let us try it all by ourselves the way we like it… it’s pretty evident already what happens when God withdraws His Presence. America is about dead, or on the brink,… if you really had eyes and ears, you’d know. If your kids only wanted you for what you could give them, instead of a loving close relationship, would you give them their selfish desires, and leave them that way? There are plenty of real “Christians” out there who still pray for God’s mercy on a country who now mocks at evil, makes jokes about Jesus, punishes people who stand up for righteousness… Darkness though, will never be able to overcome Light. Never. God’s word is eternal. Goodnight. PS in order to enter the kingdom, you must become as a little child. (parable)

  2. sam permalink
    May 31, 2007 7:07 am

    perhaps there’s been a decline of Christianity’s acceptance in mainstream social consciousness, but i don’t think that’s an actual problem–just a symptom of the increasingly hostile secularists who don’t like absolute morality.

    the declining acceptance, of course, may lead to fewer true believers, if such a deterministic analysis can be applied to the people God has chosen to hear His words :) at the very least, there’s a lot of static getting in the way of God.

    i have a feeling that there wasn’t a dramatic decline in the number of true, practicing Christians over the last few decades. you may surmise that my standard for “true, practicing Christian” is kind of strict–at least as strict as my own behavior, i’d hope ;)

  3. May 31, 2007 7:46 am

    I’ll talk about the development of non-westerners coming over to the United States as missionaries to re-evangelize the West. I know of about 5 men from several African countries that are here in southern Maine and New England area that see themselves as missionaries to the US.

    Initially, my pride has been hit hard by this. Because they’re basically saying we the church here in the US arent’ doing are part. And I (wrongly) doubt that they could do a better job reaching my home culture. BUT…precisely because it is not their home culture, they study it, they ask questions, they listen…they do ethnographic research. Whereas I just assume that I know all about my neighbors. (and we all know what assume-ing does!)

    That said, I’ve recently been challenged to look at my town and the surrounding region as a mission field that I need to study like a church planter in a foreign country.

    Sorry this was off topic a bit, but you got me thinking.

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