The Real Threat to Personal Faith Commitment to Christ

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Culture, Current Affairs, Discipleship, Education, Emergent Church, Marriage & Family, Missional Church, Protestantism, Separation of Church & State, The Church, The Future

I would argue that in America the impact of personal and social secularization is different than in virtually all other Western nations. The reason for this is because religion was never formally established in America as a function in which the state had a compelling role. From every angle you can look at this question it now seems that state … Read More

Understanding our Exilic Missional Context: Evangelicalism and Liberalism in Twentieth Century America

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Church History, Culture, Current Affairs, Emergent Church, History, Ideology, Missional Church, Politics, Protestantism, Reason, The Church, The Future, Women in the Church

Most historians and religion scholars now agree that by the twentieth century liberal Protestantism had led to a mainstream Protestantism that was vague, theistic and excessively nationalistic. In a profound sense, concludes British Christian Studies scholar Linda Woodhead, “liberal Protestantism’s triumph can be said to lie to some extent in its disappearance; it dissolved into the blood stream of American … Read More

Why Politics Matters and How We Got the Wrong End of the Stick (1)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Culture, Current Affairs, Emergent Church, Freedom, Ideology, Missional Church, Politics, Religion, Separation of Church & State, The Church, The Future

Two weeks ago I sought to show how the church in America has become subject to a condition of moral, cultural and spiritual exile. Like Israel of old, we are now living away from our true home, separated from our real calling–to live out the life of Christ with one another (cf. John 13:34–35). We have forgotten who we really … Read More

Living as Aliens in Post-Christendom Culture (5)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Christ/Christology, Culture, Current Affairs, Emergent Church, Ideology, Lordship of Christ, Missional Church, Missional-Ecumenism, Politics, Postmodernity, Renewal, The Church, The Future

Christian sociologist James Davison Hunter has written one of the most important studies of what it means to be faithfully present in the modern, increasingly post-Christendom world that I have been describing over the last two weeks. His magisterial book, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford, 2010, has helped … Read More

Living as Aliens in Post-Christendom Culture (4)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Culture, Current Affairs, Emergent Church, Ideology, Missional Church, Missional-Ecumenism, Politics, Separation of Church & State, The Church, The Future

Since the time of Constantine (4th century) the church has been enabled, in various forms and expressions, to “share” power with the state. This was not all bad. As a result of Constantine the church was allowed the protection of law and the opportunity to create new institutions of learning and charity, to give but one grand example of a … Read More

Living as Aliens in a Post-Christendom Culture (3)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Culture, Current Affairs, Emergent Church, The Church, The Future

Because the church now resides in a growing state of exile, from both Christendom and a sympathetic host culture, I have suggested that we need to adjust our thinking and mission to this new reality. I believe this requires a whole new way of thinking and believing about who we are and what we should be doing as the church. … Read More

Living as Aliens in a Post-Christendom Culture (2)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Culture, Current Affairs, Discipleship, Emergent Church, Faith, Ideology, Kingdom of God, Lordship of Christ, Love, Missional Church, Missional-Ecumenism, Politics, Religion, Renewal, The Christian Minister/Ministry, The Church, The Future

If living the Christian life as “aliens” really describes Christian community/church then we can understand why we are a “colony of heaven” in a “strange” land. The biblical portrait of the Christian church is one in which the church “exists for mission as fire exists for burning” (Emil Bruner). This gives us our clear identity. The DNA of such “aliens” … Read More

Living as Aliens in a Post-Christendom Culture (1)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Church Tradition, Culture, Current Affairs, Discipleship, Emergent Church, Gospel/Good News, Ideology, Kingdom of God, Lordship of Christ, Missional Church, Missional-Ecumenism, Politics, Postmodernity, The Church, The Future

I suggested in my series last week, “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” that Christians were called by God in Christ to live as “a colony of heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Because of this calling we are to live as God’s new creation, thus as “aliens and exiles.” This is clearly the same point made by the apostle Peter when he … Read More

The Babylonian Captivity of the American Church (4)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Church History, Church Tradition, Culture, Current Affairs, Emergent Church, Missional Church, Missional-Ecumenism, Personal, Politics, Postmodernity, Religion, Renewal, The Church, The Future

A Colony of Heaven James Moffatt’s translation of the New Testament translates politeuma, in Philippians 3:20, as: “We are a colony of heaven.” The Jews in the Dispersion, and living in Babylon, understood this very well. They knew what it meant to live as “strangers” in a strange land. They understood that they were aliens trying to live on someone … Read More

The Babylonian Captivity of the American Church (3)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Church History, Church Tradition, Culture, Current Affairs, Emergent Church, Missional Church, Missional-Ecumenism, Politics, Religion, Renewal, The Church, The Future

Waking Up Is Hard to Do Sometime in the late 1980s, or early 1990s, I began to realize how profoundly we had moved away from “My America.” Whatever my parents believed about America and our culture there were fewer and fewer people who believed it and the social and religious tide was clearly moving in an entirely new direction. Fundamentalist … Read More