Call. Context. Commission.
We live in a moment of cultural turmoil in the West, perhaps particularly in the United States. The shift to a post-Christendom age means that we as Christians need to rediscover our mission and identity as the people of God in a place that is increasingly foreign and, at times, hostile. This is different from the culture most of us came of age in, and it is one many did not expect to have arisen so quickly.
The result is a fairly discombobulated or disorienting feeling—a sense that things have changed so rapidly that there is a temptation to fear that this is only the beginning.
I have written extensively on the trends that have informed this culture change and the kinds of leaders, preaching, and evangelistic practices we need to explore in light of this shift. More importantly, I have consistently argued that this decline in cultural Christianity can be, in part, a blessing for the church—an opportunity for us to distinguish nominal from authentic belief.
I want to continue with this theme by providing Christians with three biblical frameworks that can help us make sense of this cultural change and ministry effectively in the years to come. I will address our call today and go into our context and our commission in Part 2 (tomorrow).
Our Call: We are strengthened by Christ’s peace.
In John 20:19-23, Jesus meets with the disciples one of the last times. It is easy to gloss over the context of this passage, but John reminds us at the outset that the disciples were locked away in fear of the religious leaders. The disciples had seen the empty tomb and Jesus had appeared to Mary Magdalene, but in the chaos and the confusion of the time, they had locked themselves away.
The exodus of nominal or cultural Christianity ...