It’s a term we’ve become familiar with over the past few decades, describing the consequence of the spiritual drift in European Christianity. It’s a term you’ll increasingly hear describing the spiritual state of the union of the United States. To clarify the meaning, post-Christian is a description of a culture or nation “that has moved away from its Christian traditions and become fundamentally secular” (Websters New World College Dictionary). Among other things, it’s a consequence of religious pluralism and the growing irrelevance of the church.
The population of increasingly irreligious people in the U.S. has been labeled quite fittingly as “the nones.” This particular group includes atheists, agnostics, and others who may claim a belief in God but have little or nothing to do with organized religion. According to the Barna survey group, “the nones” comprise almost a quarter of the American population, and the percentage continues to rise.
Rather than wringing our hands and praying for Jesus’ return, I’d suggest our approach to the adverse effects of a post-Christian culture should focus on an unprecedented opportunity. Never before in our lifetime have there been so many folks living with such need. Whether relational brokenness, emotional trauma, everyday life pressures or political weirdness — our society is ripe to receive the good news of the gospel. Great opportunity always accompanies great need.
It’s relatively easy to label our country as a post-Christian culture and long for the good old days where religious debate centered upon theological orthodoxy. In the Christian era, the major decision relative to church involvement wasn’t if to go, but where. Things have changed.
We have to decide as Christ followers if we’re ready to surrender to the inevitability of a post-Christian culture or rise to the challenge of reclaiming our culture for Christ. Here are a couple of thoughts: First, in a post-Christian culture, Christians living out a “business as usual” faith won’t survive. That style of faith never does. This moment calls for true discipleship, not easy believism. Second, we have to decide if our local church matters. Let’s ask how our level of commitment to our local church compares to our commitment five years ago. Any national survey or eyeball-test will conclude that the church continues its drift toward irrelevance. It’s time to re-evaluate our personal priority concerning the Body of Christ.
While this next statement sounds somewhat bizarre, let me just put it out there. We have an amazing opportunity to win our culture back to Christ! Our post-Christian culture has become an amazing opportunity for mission-minded folks to invite anyone and everyone into this new and transformational adventure called Christianity. This new mission opportunity begins as soon as we walk out the front door today, if not before.