I’d like to introduce the two topics that will dominate the last quarter of The Reformed Sojourner blog’s first year. If you’ve been keeping in touch, I’ve been focusing on the deep, consequential failure of our PC(USA) leadership, with occasional lighter fare, like excerpts from The Language of Suffering 😉
I don’t blame you if this seems a bit depressing. However, it’s important to press on because we must attempt to understand the forces that are at work. This is a necessary prerequisite to wise decisions, both as individuals and as churches.
This is also important because the consequences, which are well described by Joseph Bottum in An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, are so profound.
“We must begin by noting that the single most significant fact over the last few decades in America — the great explanatory event from which follows nearly everything in our social and political history — is the crumbling of the Mainline churches as central institutions in our national experience. It is a collapse of numbers, certainly: a disappearance of parishioners astonishing in its speed. Even more, however, it is a collapse of influence, the loss of religious institutions that had defined, supported, and challenged the nation for all of its previous history.”
In the overwhelming business of holding together our family, work and personal lives, there appears to be no room for the addition of anything else. However, there are forces at work that, though they often fall off of our priority list, nevertheless are substantively contributing to our civilization’s decline. One of those forces is the movement in Mainline denominations to “reinvent” Christianity as a “faith” that is aligned with today’s apparently dominant political and cultural forces. This project requires both the subversion of our theology and the demoralization of our civilizational confidence.
And so, in this Fall I will report on two new areas:
- Gnosticism Reimagined? (beginning next Monday)
- Loving All Our Neighbors
The confidence and courage with which Christians throughout two millennia have challenged their culture is not due to their own sense of wisdom or power. Rather, it is due to their complete confidence in God’s (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) providential engagement with this fallen world. So, it is no accident that we find ourselves standing at this place in this time. Rather, there is a holy and sovereign purpose at work; one that humbles itself by asking us to participate in faith, hope and love.