Post Christian Society requires a different Church Paradigm

For many years I had the privilege of pastoring a wonderful church family. We taught the uncompromised Word of God and saw people grow in the Lord. But something happened that changed the course of our ministry dramatically. We had a serious collision with the Dutch society, the authorities, the judicial system, the Child Protection Services, the public opinion and the national media. Much can be said about the origin of this collision, but we found out that in order to avoid more collisions, we had to change our approach to ministry. So are we now compromising? you might ask. I am totally convinced we are not compromising, but we have found out the there is a new mandate for the Church in post Christian communities and nations.

Let’s first address the significance of the term ‘post Christian society’. It refers to a society where Christian norms and values, biblical views on issues, were once seen as the norm, but not any longer. We don’t have to get scientific about this, most people can tell that the norms and values in today’s society are shifting. Things that used to be regarded as abnormal or morally wrong, are now totally normal and granted legal protection.

We can not expect society to accept Christian norms and values, without accepting Christ. That’s why the mandate of the church shifts from preaching the norms and values of the Bible to society, to showing society the eternal principles that are laid out in the Bible. If we don’t build a platform by being relevant to the people, nobody will hear what we are preaching.

The Church needs to apply what I call a JED Paradigm, which stands for Joseph, Esther and Daniel paradigm. These three great people of God were used mightily of God in an environment that did not know anything about God, nor did they accept anything as nomral, that God had commanded His people, the Israelites. These three persons gained tremendous influence without preaching a single word, without condemn anybody or anything. They simply developed an intimate relationship with God in a society that did not want anything to do with that God. That is what God wants to do with you and me in these last days. But we need to understand that this is not a lost situation. Just like Daniel when led into captivity could have given up and mourn about the condition of God’s people. Instead Daniel understood God was going to have a final word in this seemingly lost situation.

I feel like I live in captivity to a certain extend. There are things I don’t preach anymore because they make me irrelevant to society. But that does not mean I compromise on the truth of Jesus Christ. I simply realize that I am send as a sheep among the wolves. I apply the command of Jesus to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. For instance, since calling people with the honorable title of pastor is often misunderstood in our post Christian Dutch Society, I asked people in my church not to call me pastor anymore. But I still believe in the office and the respect that goes with the office. I just learned what it meant when the apostle Paul said:

I Corinthians 9: 19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20  And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21  To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22  To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23  And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

Next post we will dig deeper in the meaning of the JED Paradigm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *