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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

not a 'Christian country'...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

'This' is a great post from Steve Hollinghurst, and well worth a read especially if you're a church minister in the UK! I've lost count of how many times I've read or been told that England is a Christian country, and it's often a statement masking a more sinister unspoken view that either verges on racism or anti-youth sentiment. Steve hits the nail on the head when he writes:

"the reality is that a modern democratic society can never by identity be a 'Christian country' and the use of this phrase does not promote the Church's influence i think it actually undermines it. it simply serves to remind everyone that the church is a thing of the past, that we used to be a Christian nation and that whilst some bits of that legacy where good we no longer need the Church to tell us that, we the citizens now decide what are 'good Christian values' and what are 'bad traditional religious morality'. anyone caught using the phrase 'we are a Christian country' is at best well meaning but irrelevant and at worst a power mad oppressor who wants to run the country their way and not our way. Christians need to wake up to this and start admitting we are not a Christian country." (bold highlights mine)

I've recently been teaching the 'Mission in Britain Today' module on a regional course training people for lay and ordained ministry in the anglican, methodist and baptist churches. Interestingly, the session on post-Christendom has been met with differing, sometimes strongly held, views. Some people do grieve the passing of Christendom; that is until we start to dig a bit deeper and read our history in the context of the New Testament and the mission of God. I'm of the belief that continuing to live with a Christendom mentality is perhaps the thing, above any other, that paralyses the church with respect to mission.

It seems that Steve is in agreement...

"... when we stop trying to claim some privileged position because 'we are a Christian country' and admit we are not we then get freed up to start fulfilling a calling to offer vision in our nation in the only way we can, by inspiring individuals, whether in government or in the local street, by what we say and what we do."

Read Steve's full post 'here'

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 10:59 AM



commented by Blogger Steve Lancaster, 2:31 PM  

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