The Church in the North and West
This week, I’ve been reading Global Mission: Reflections and Case Studies in Contextualization for the Whole Church, edited by Rose Dowsett. It’s an excellent book which should probably be included as a basic text in any undergraduate mission training course. Over the next day or two, I will be posting a few quotes that I found striking or thought provoking.
In most places in the west/north (though not all) the church is declining and there is widespread loss of confidence in the gospel and in the uniqueness of Christ in the face of widespread other world religions. Even evangelicals are caught up in this. We have lost our Reformation understanding of truth, and with it the authority of Scripture is undermined. With the collapse of Christendom, not only has the church largely lost its credibility as a voice in public affairs (in Europe especially, now dominated by secularism), but it also faces an internal crisis of how to reach a generation increasingly totally alienated from traditional forms of church life and values. Further, there is an uncomfortable realization that much of our ecclesiology has itself been in cultural captivity to Christendom and Enlightenment structures. Too often it has mirrored rather than challenged the assumption that authority should be expressed through power; too often it has been preoccupied with structures and organizations rather than with the simple, flexible, authentic life of the Spirit among God’s people.