One of my favourite authors, Reggie MacNeal, writes “We are closer to AD 30 than we are to 1990.” By this he means that our time more closely resembles that of the early Church than it does the recent past. we have witnessed the collapse of the church culture. In other words we live in a post-christendom world. Back in the early 300’s Constantine conquered in ‘the sign of the cross’ and as he became emperor Christianity became the official religion of the empire. Until this time Christianity had been this untamed movement but in her marriage to the empire she was changed. Now she became a stately institution and a dispenser of faith. The change was dramatic as the church morphed from a missional incarnational movement into an institutional hierarchical organization. This organization,in a number of guises, in partnership with the empire dominated the culture for hundreds of years. This is what we call Christendom. The collapse of this began in earnest with the Age of Enlightenment and the rise of science as a chief dispenser of truth and has been hastened of late by the rise of Post modernism with its relativism and accompanying cynicism.
The institutional model of church patently does not work any longer. If it were not for the lengthening of human life in recent history, church attendance would be miniscule. We can not afford to cling to this inherited church model! I suggest we return to the model of the missional incarnational movement of the first 3 centuries. In this blog over the coming weeks I will begin to explore ways we might do just that! Why don’t you come along for the journey?