What Does It Mean to Be Christian?
I do not believe that we're living in a post-Christian society if you define Christian the way that the New Testament does. When people ask me that, I usually say we're living in, at best, a pre-Christian society. I don't think there's a golden age in the past where there has ever been a nostalgic Christian society.
Often what a nominal Christianity does is the worst possible thing: leave people in lostness but convince them that they're reconciled with God.
Someone said to me one time, “We just need to get back to where we were before this culture fell apart.” And I said, “You don't even remember when the culture fell apart, because the culture fell apart somewhere between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers in Genesis 3.” Every generation since then has manifested fallenness and brokenness—just in different ways. There are different challenges in each generation, but they're always there.
Where I would say that we're a post-Christian society is that we're a post-pretend-Christian society. There was a previous era when people had a certain basic understanding of biblical truths and some connection to the church. That brought some benefit because, in many cases, there was some sort of stable understanding of morality. But, it also brought a lot of drawbacks because a nominal Christianity doesn't save.
Often what a nominal Christianity does is the worst possible thing: leave people in lostness but convince them that they're reconciled with God. I do think we're moving beyond that kind of Christianity. That's going to mean a lack of cohesion in the country and in some communities.
It also means that we have an opportunity to preach the gospel in the same sort of society where the gospel first emerged, which wasn't some hazy, happy Christian society. It was a very decadent, polytheistic Roman empire. And the gospel was able to speak, stand, and save. I think the same is true now.
- How to Foster a Gospel Culture (Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.)
- Raising Children in a Post-Christian, Anti-Family Society
- Preaching an Objective Message in a Subjective Culture