What Is The Future of Christianity?

Derek Ouellette —  February 12, 2010 — 6 Comments

Welcome to View Points. This is the place where I post a question that invites your comments and views on various subjects. The floor is open to you with only three simple requests: 1. Keep your comments short (one thought at a time is helpful) 2. Be respectful and 3. Stay on topic!

Question:

It seems that there has been an onslaught of books written on what Phyllis Tickle calls the Great Emergence, that Christianianity of the 21st century is facing a “change or die” situation.

The question this week is do you agree that Christianity is losing steam and needs to change to survive in the 21st century? If so then change how? If not, why?

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • Geneinne

    I feel, from what I am able to precieve, that alot of the truths that we always felt were foundational truths from the bible have been discarded. I think we have become a busy, exclusive people and through all our wonders of technology many Christians are isolated Christians.By that I mean our sense of community and fellowship has taken a nose dive. I don’t think we feel as a whole that we really need each other as much and so besides our demoninational differences we now have individuals and small groups who are content to practice their Christianity apart from the community of Christians. Sometimes I get sick of hearing people talk about ‘ how we all have our own perception of what the bible says.’ I don’t think God ever intended His Word to be so hard to understand or follow. There are many, many voices out there!
    Personally, many of the traditions, that I once thought were biblical I now know are not neccessarily ‘bad’ but their not ‘biblical’ either. I don’t know… would Jesus Christ recognize us as His own?

  • Josh

    I agree with Geneinne. But I would contend that the present nosedive in church attendance (particularly youth/young adults leaving traditional forms of church) are a symptomatic of Western Christianity being existentially irrelevant.

    What I mean by this is that, the “modern” form of church itself (which has been practiced from the Reformation onward (and pre-Reformation) has replaced community. We’ve lost what it means to be the “church”, to be the “family/community of God”, and this has been going on for a long time… We’re more “Western” (individualistic, self absorbed, occupation orientated, focused on always being right, staying comfortable) than we are “Christian” (communal, selfless, love/kingdom orientated, focused on walking in humility, social justice).

    There is such a lack of discipleship, community, and relationship in most churches (Evangelical and Mainline)… And even from the pulpit, there’s this understanding that you just bring your money, listen to the message, and go home (the very same sort of religiosity that people decry of Mainline/Catholic faith). Sunday mornings are secondary to relationship, community, and discipleship.

    I’m a young adult (almost 25) and I totally understand why so many people my age are leaving the church… It’s because it’s irrelevant! There’s no discipling community. No one helping to guide them through life. No fathering. No mothering. And too many my age think that doing the same thing week after week is just religion. No one changes. “Is it (faith/God/Christianity) even true/even real?”

    I think the majority of Christianity in the West is going to have to change radically. I know too many thoughtful people that want, that need more than what is considered “normal” church/Christianity here in the West.

  • http://covenantoflove.net Derek Ouellette

    Hi Josh,

    You said that the majority of Christianity in the West is going to have to change radically. Do you have any suggestions on how? What kind of radical change is needed? Is it practical (do-able)? And does the very survival of Chrisitanity depend on this radical change in your opinion?

    • Geneinne

      I think the beginning of any kind of change begins we ‘me’. Waiting for the ‘someone elses’ to create the change that I feel is needed is counter productive.
      I agree with Josh, there does need to be a change but that change may very well start with Josh and/or me and whoever feels the need for change to deprogram our thinking, declutter our lives, re-prioritize our lives and begin the process within our own circle to become the community God intended. That’s hard work!(smile) It means I may have to re arrange my schedule, my life to include other people around me and invite them into my life. But nothing worth having is easy!

      • Josh

        I agree with you 110% Geneinne! That’s why I’ve moved on from merely complaining/talking about the issues within Western Christianity, to passionately pursuing God and His desires for the church and the world. For every negative/destructive word I have to say, I have ten more passionate excited ones about where I think, hope, and pray we our moving within the Body of Christ.

        Honestly, I’m really excited about the next 20, 30 years. I’m excited about our generation. I think we’re going to see a huge growth in Christian community, relationship, and discipleship. And (regardless of what happens) I know it’s what I am going to spend the rest of my life pursuing and cultivating! There is no other life than the True Life of God found in communion with Him and the His people through the Spirit. I desire (and will give my life) for this life to be manifest within my life and my community for the rest of my days in the present age!

  • Geneinne

    Wow! I am impressed! (smile) So has this passion for Christ taken any concrete actions? I’m always interested in answers and ideas!