As part of my preparation for attending Cape Town 2010 I’ve been reading the advance papers. The latest is Witnessing to Christ in a Secular Culture by Michael Herbst. Below are a few highlights and then my comments.
Michael gives us a whistle-stop tour of Christianity in the last fifty years in Germany showing clearly how the Communist party worked to create cities where God was irrelevant and, eventually, forgotten altogether. The narrative in the paper makes it clear that this strategy was very effective.
The paper is specific to how Christians are engaging with this secular culture in Germany, it would be interesting to see in how many other countries has communism had the same impact. Given the wide-spread of communism this is potentially a huge issue for the Church globally to engage with.
In the United Kingdom whilst we don’t have the same cultural history and background it is a clear that secularism and agnosticism is increasing. Many adults, let alone children and young people who I work with are biblically illiterate, they think, for example, that Easter is when Jesus is born, and have no knowledge of characters such as Abraham, Moses, David or Paul.
The Church needs to learn how to recognise how the changes of culture impact faith, and to experiment with new models of ecclesiology to engage with an ever-changing culture.