Is the Christian Community Becoming Irrelevant in Modern Culture?
How the church can return to faithfulness and relevance
(Washington D.C.) "Early twenty-first-century
evangelicalism mimics popular culture as closely and as successfully as anyone could ever hope to while still getting away with it," says Os Guinness the senior fellow at the Trinity Forum.
Guinness blasts the syncretistic leanings of the modern church, do-it-yourself religion and the fondness for demographically-driven services. In Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance (Baker), Guinness is candid about the state of Christianity. "The Christian faith is not a license to entitlement, a prescription for easy-going spirituality or a how-to manual for self-improvement. The cross of Jesus Christ runs crosswise to all our human ways of thinking."
According to Guinness the modern culture has done more damage to Christian integrity than all the persecutors of the church in history. He says evangelicals have embraced the modern world with a passion unrivaled in history instead of taking a world-denying stance. The result has been a new evangelicalism. "Therapeutic self-concern overshadows knowing God, spirituality displaces theology, end-times escapism crowds out day-to-day discipleship, marketing triumphs over mission, references to opinion polls outweigh reliance on biblical exposition, concerns for power and relevance are more obvious than concern for piety and faithfulness, talk of reinventing the church has replaced prayer for revival."
These concerns logically segue into the way church services attract or hold congregants. Since the modern world has a bias for change, the concepts of truth, transcendence and fidelity become antiquated and devalued. Yet, for Guinness, change is not always progress. "For many people jam-packed eventfulness is a necessity and attention deficit disorder a common condition." Since the modern world defines reality on its own terms, anyone who stands against it is labeled irrational, insane or backward.
Though Guinness is a modern prophet, he doesn't leave us hopeless. He tells us how to escape the cultural captivity though it will not be an easy road. The essentials of untimeliness are an awareness of the unfashionable, developing an appreciation for the historical and attention to the eternal. "Nothing is finally relevant," says Guinness, "except in relation to the true and eternal."
To schedule an interview Os Guinness call Creative Resources @ 800/858-9388 ISBN #0-8010-1260-0 $16.99 Hardcover