by Steve Dunn
Scot McKnight recently published a post on his blog JESUS CREED entitled “The Line Has Been Crossed.” In it he reported and then chronicled the demise of Christianity in Great Britain whose PM still refers to his country as “a Christian nation.” He observes:
A landmark in national life has just been passed. For the first time in recorded history, those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in Britain. Some 44 per cent of us regard ourselves as Christian, 8 per cent follow another religion and 48 per cent follow none. The decline of Christianity is perhaps the biggest single change in Britain over the past century. For some time, it has been a stretch to describe Britain as a Christian country. We can more accurately be described now as a secular nation with fading Christian institutions.
There is nothing new in the decline of the church, but until recently it had been a slow decline. For many decades it was possible to argue that while Christians were eschewing organised religion, they at least still regarded themselves as having some sort of spirit-ual life which related to the teachings of Jesus. Children were asked for their Christian name; conversations ended with ‘God bless’. Such phrases are now slipping out of our vocabulary — to wear a cross as jewellery is seen as making a semi-political statement. Christians are finding out what it’s like to live as a minority.
Election year in the US often prompts powerful appeals to the concept of America as a Christian nation. But the shifting of our own culture has resulted in the reality that Christians, particularly biblical Christians, no longer are a part of the prevailing culture.
Years of a civil religion wearing the disguise of Christianity may have sent the hardcore atheists to flight but it has resulted in a syncrenistic faith that honors the concept of being spiritual over biblical, subjective rather objective, feeling good over the mind of Christ.
Before we blame it all on the choices of the young, studies such as that of Christian Smith reveal that this is the religion of our young people’s parents. To quote Walt Kelly’s famous character Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Yet studies of emerging generations reveal their desire for religion that is rooted in that which is genuine. Not shallow. Not ritualistic. Not legalistic. Not authoritarian.
The Gospels report the “authority” with which Jesus taught. There was something compelling true in his words. – GENUINE, Perhaps we need to return to teaching and living what Jesus taught and lived- to true Christianity.
For America the “line” is nearing and the spiritual destiny of these emerging generations depend on our reversing the trend.
© 2016 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to http://www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org
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