Just been reading a cracking book “The Church in an age of Crisis “ by James Emery White, who is the pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in North Carolina. The sub title is “25 New Realities facing Christianity”
This is a well researched attempt to understand modern culture, the modern mind and lifestyle – a “whirlwind tour of our day” and the obvious challenges it presents for the Christian church, as we seek to communicate unchanging truth to a fast, changing world.
The 25 new realities are conveniently divided into 5 sections, namely Faith, Mindset, Marriage and Family, Media and Technology and Mission and each of those is subdivided into 5 e.g. the 5 realities of modern day marriage and family are “We’re just not into marriage”; pornification; modern family; regarding gender and the disappearance of childhood.
I found myself saying yes, yes, yes, many times throughout this book. Using comprehensive research, Pastor White very helpfully pinpoints the key cultural markers of our day. The book doesn’t attempt to say what we should do about living in such a world and how we should work out our calling to be salt and light in our world – that is left to each reader and each church leader to think through for themselves. But at least he does paint a very helpful picture. Whilst much of it is specifically orientated to a north American mindset, none of us should be unaware of how relevant this is for our own culture too.
Here’s one example of many I could choose. In a chapter entitled, “Is Google God?” he shows how indeed for most people Google has become the fount of all knowledge and information, even though much of what you read is little more than “endless volleys of nonsense, folly and rumour masquerading as knowledge, wisdom and even truth”. A practical and relevant example – google “Easter - its meaning and its origins” and you will get millions of articles. The average, non –churched biblically illiterate person may read any one, believe it is definitive and be further misled away from truth. There is a disconnect in our world between information (much of it false) and knowledge and wisdom.
The implications and challenge for the modern church should be obvious. The men of Issachar understood the times” (1 Chron. 12 v 32) – and so should we, so that we are effective witnesses for the unchanging Christ and reveal eternal realities to a confused world.