The Christendom mindset…
February 18, 2009
Incredibly helpful analysis provided by Stuart Murray (200-202).
He says, The Christendom mindset includes:
- Orientation towards maintaining (but perhaps tweaking) the status quo rather than advocating radical and disturbing change.
- Wanting to control history and bring in God’s kingdom (even coercively) rather than trusting the future to God.
- Over-emphasizing church and internal ecclesial issues at the expense of God’s mission and kingdom.
- A ‘moral majority’ stance on ethical issues, assuming the right of the churches to instruct the behavior of those beyond the church
- A punitive rather than restorative approach to issues of justice and support for capital punishment as ‘biblical’.
- Disgruntlement that Christian festivals (particularly Christmas and Easter) are no longer accorded the spiritual significance they once enjoyed.
- Confusion about the relationship between patriotism and ultimate loyalty to God’s kingdom and the transnational Christian community.
- Partiality for respectability, top-down mission and hierarchical church government.
- Predilection for large congregations that support ‘professional’ standard of ministry and exercise influence on local power structures.
- Thinking the Christian story is still known, understood and widely believed within society.
- Celebrating survey evidence that seventy per cent of the population claim to be Christian, as if such notional Christianity is significant.
- Assuming that churchgoing is a normal social activity and that most people feel comfortable in church buildings and services.
- Attitudes towards church buildings that imply these are focal points of God’s presence.
- Orientation towards maintenance rather than mission in ministerial training, congregational focus and financial priorities.
- Preferring authoritative pronouncements, preaching and monologue over dialogue, conversation and consensus.
- Pontificating and lecturing, often in a sanctimonious tone that understandably irritates others.
- Despite decades of decline and marginalization, triumphalist theology and language.
- Attitudes to other faith communities that vary from opposition to tolerance but assume Christianity should be accorded centrality and privileges.
- Expectations that imminent revival will restore the fortunes and influence of the churches in society.