Series: Post-Christian Culture
Sunday am 14 January 2018 – Kobus Swart
Acts 17:22-23; Rom. 1:18-30; (Eccl. 3:11); (Heb. 11:6); John 3:1-7
We are looking at where the Church is in today’s world, and where we fit in and what our role is. We are no longer living in just a ‘non-Christian’ culture, but a growing ‘post-Christian’ culture.
Post-Christian means when Christianity is behind you; you have ‘moved on’. There are shocking facts (quoting Stanley). It is no secret that the religious landscape in America has shifted drastically. This is busy will happening in South Africa and Western Europe as well. The word “Christian” for some people means that you go to church a few times a year. Fewer and fewer Americans call themselves Christians while more and more identify themselves as religiously unaffiliated. Often when completing certain questionnaires, where it asks, “Are you a Christian/Muslim/etc” and then people will say, “none of the above”. That means you are called a ‘none’. No religious affiliation. Currently, 25% of Americans are in that group. It is young Americans who fall into this category, known as ‘millennials’.
The “Generation X” group was born between 1960 and 1980. The “Generation Y” group was born between 1980 and 1990. They are the ‘millennials’ or internet generation. The “Generation Z” group was born between 1990 and 2015. This is the largest group of people of all time. For them sending an SMS (texting on the cell phone) is the preferred way of communicating. The ‘millennials’ make up 44% of the ‘none’ group – of all the people who say they are not religiously affiliated. That means more and more people are part of the ‘none’ group; no longer affiliated religiously. That is called a post-Christian culture. We need to take note of this and not turn a blind eye.
Zack Hunt, also a millennial, says that through his young life, that he was convinced that the rapture would happen at any moment, so he had to be prepared at all times. That would mean never missing a church meeting, never sinning, never setting a car radio on anything except Christian radio. When the rapture did not happen like it was prophesied, his faith began to unravel. Where does that put the ‘millennials’ in our country? I thank God that for many of us the truth of the so-called ‘end time’ has come.
What is needed now is more than theory and speculation. When you ask people about God, you find different descriptions of who God is, where God is and what God is. When Paul came to the altars on Mars Hill and saw an altar ‘to the unknown God’, he said, “what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you…” (Acts 17:22-23). He was saying, “Let me demonstrate to you that there is a living God”.
When you ask the ‘none’ group, “Do you believe in the Scripture?” 72% of them say it is not the Word of God. The Barna Group in their research found that “48% of Americans qualify as post-Christian”. There is a difference between a non-Christian and a post-Christian. A “non-Christian” has never been a Christian. A “post-Christian” has been a committed Christian, but after many years has decided to move on and leave Christianity. According to Stanley, nearly 50% of Americans qualify as post-Christians. People who had an affiliation with Christianity in the past and have rejected it – they are post-Christian. The post-Christian society is not merely a society where agnosticism or atheism is the prevailing fundamental belief, but it is a society rooted in the history, culture and practices of Christianity but they have rejected their belief in Christianity.
Is society busy dethroning God and in His place finding (or manufacturing) other gods? (Rom. 1:18-30). Where is the Church? What is the Church doing about not losing the next generation? Is human society moving into a post-truth era – where truth no longer matters? There are even talks about a post-human society! There is a decreasing interest in Christianity but there is an extraordinary interest in spirituality. Philosophies like ‘New Age’ are filling the gap because the Church is busy with ‘churchy’ things and they do not bring people into an understanding of the realm of spirit and what authentic spirituality is all about. I am proclaiming that a new season has begun for the Church and for this household. We have to confront certain issues and deposit and impart an understanding that is rooted in the truth of the Word of God.
The reason our evangelistic endeavours result in more recycling than actual conversion is that our methods and approaches assume non-Christian rather than post-Christian. If all you are doing is taking the post-Christian back to being Christian, it is a recycling process, instead of bringing the non-Christian to a hearty confrontation with God!
Oswald Chambers says, “Conversion is not regeneration.” If you come to a true conversion it should be a born-again experience. We have to be born again to see the kingdom of God. We have to be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5). I am not talking about an emotional experience but rather an authentic born-again experience. If not, satan is going to challenge you. He is waiting to trip you up and lure you into this “new age” spirituality and you will be caught in the post-Christian group because you did not find what you needed as part of the Church.
There is a quest in every human being to find God because God has put eternity in the heart of every man (Eccl. 3:11). There is something in us crying for reality, to connect with true spiritual purpose. He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb. 11:6). William Hinn says that if you seek God and you seek Him with all of your heart, the day you find Him, you will also have found yourself. Why? Because we have been created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus Christ came and re-created us after the fall, and He connected us to divine purpose. Connect with your divine purpose! Not everyone has the same type of experience, but you have to get that which is rooted in truth. If not, you become a candidate for the post-Christian culture.