“What does this growing number of those claiming no religious affiliation mean for the future of Christianity? The historic strength of evangelical churches to innovate methods without altering the underlying message will no longer have the same impact. That’s because the cultural shift now underway is not merely about music preferences or the use of video clips in sermons. The problem is deeper, found in the language patterns and theological categories we use to articulate faith.
Put simply, evangelicals will increasingly have answers to questions no one is asking. The failure to face this challenge will firmly secure this kind of Christianity in the margins of history and society. To avoid this, we must learn to embrace what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “religionless Christianity.” These people will press beyond the tired religious categories of “liberal” and “conservative.” They will see the life and teachings of Jesus not as religious or even spiritual in nature, but rather as fundamentally human.”
So, what would a ‘religionless Christianity’ look like? Is it possible?
I am increasingly becoming convinced that what we need in the 21st century are not new ways of ‘doing church’–as if tweaking the format and style of our worship services will suddenly change the game. What we need are new ways of being Christian–innovative, practical, and generous ways of living out the radical message of Jesus today. This does not mean leaving behind our history or tradition, but it does recognize that, in order to honor the Spirit present in the Scriptures, we may need to rethink some of the ways we are living out the faith today.
What do you think?
About Joshua ScottJosh has been a pastor at Morgantown Community Church since 2005. He is currently studying at Western Kentucky University, pursuing a Master of Arts in Religion. Josh and his wife Carla have been married since June 2005, and they have one son, Cohen. Some of his favorite things are: being a coffee snob, The Office, West Virginia football, and reading great books.
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