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In negative territory
Writer Aaron Renn has published an article for First Things about the declining status of Christianity in America. Writing from an Evangelical viewpoint, Renn argues that Christians in the recent past were viewed positively by the culture. Today, he says, Christianity is seen as a liability in modern America.
While the methods of growing the church in past decades - "seeker sensitive" approaches and cultural engagement - have "worked", Renn writes that Christians in a hostile society must adopt new strategies. We know that it is God who grows his church as she clings faithfully to Word and Sacrament, but we also know Mad Christians are thinking about many of the things Renn writes about.
He writes that we must be "building churches and Christian communities that rely less on support from secular institutions and are resilient to outside pressure". He also exhorts his readers to "remain prudentially engaged in politics" but warns that we need to start working through the issues for ourselves: "Stop outsourcing your political thinking to movement conservatism and your socio-cultural analysis to secular academics".
Renn states what is painfully obvious to those who are fighting back the white noise: we must be "willing to accept a loss of social status". So, perhaps we should look to the first-century church as our example, to the cloud of witnesses who persevered in their faith though they could not always see their reward. What we are building is for our children and those who will come after us.
Let us not grow weary in doing good but continue to speak the truth of God's word to a world which despises us. After all, we have already died to this world in our baptism. What can men do to us? We are immortal now, because Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia!
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