We’re not returning to a modern world with its rational, cognitive, scientific, evidentialist, imperialistic understanding of reality. Rather the world is quickly reinventing itself as a global culture with multicultural and technological contexts, and defined by artistic, mystical, and supernatural orientations. It represents, in effect, a second reformation for the church.
The modern, church-as-franchise mentality where "one size fits all" no longer fits. There are two major roadblocks that are preventing the church from successfully navigating this time period. First, the modern, Western theology and methods we’ve been using for the last 30 years are becoming less and less effective every day. Second, the church isn’t recognizing characteristics of and changes in the ever-increasing number of cultures and tribes out there.
That’s why—as we exit modern ways of processing reality—it’s crucial to reexamine long-held beliefs and assumptions:
- Many of us learned early on about "garbage in-garbage out." You know—whatever you think, you become. The garbage in-garbage out philosophy assumes that the brain is a sponge that will buy into whatever it’s given.
- In the modern context, the church ignored biblical narrative and complexity, instead reducing the gospel to a set of propositions.
- The church as a whole has become a business that exists to attract consumers by marketing a product. So the gospel is no longer something you participate in—it’s something you consume.
- At some point we began proclaiming the notion that there’s a "safe Christian culture" out there. And because we’ve constructed this alternate reality, we’ve told ourselves that Genesis 3 won’t affect us.
- Inhabitants of the Western world are very individualistic, very consumeristic, very rugged, and very entrepreneurial. Much of what we believe is gospel truth is actually founded on Hellenistic thinking and informed by Greek ideals and the history that’s been given to us since Descartes.
- The church has falsely believed it could safely divide the world into things that are sacred or things that are secular. That kind of assumption is based, again, on our modern, Western version of Christianity. We must look at things in terms of what can be redeemed and what cannot be redeemed.