THE POST-CHRISTIAN CONDITION
What does it mean?
It used to be in times past that communicators in general, and preachers and teachers, in particular, would bank on “the power of the Word” to break every barrier and to connect the listening heart with the spoken truth. Nowadays, some of the same people continue to advocate the same reasoning for homiletics, evangelism and discipleship, only to see declining influence and fruit from these approaches. What does this mean?
The Post-Christian Condition reminds us that our culture’s thinking has replaced elements of Judeo-Christian theology, ethics and virtue (found in previous generations) with secular, humanistic elements that align more with godlessness and anti-Christian forms of belief. It means that many communicative strategies in general (church’s outreach programs, advertising and PR, etc.) and preaching and teaching in particular have failed to address this cultural shift and deficiency in the Post-Christian Condition.
Current preaching and teaching methods often speak biblical truths from theological grounds when society no longer has a “theological grid.” This means western culture lacks many “dots” of Judeo-Christian thought (theology) in their decision-making spectrum; therefore, people can no longer “connect those dots” in order to understand God’s truth. Because there are no theological connecting points in their mental scaffold, it means they can no longer understand biblical truths when they are presented with theological language and descriptions. A large disconnect exists within our culture when preachers and teachers use an old paradigm (teaching biblical truths with theological frameworks) to connect with different thinking people.
Research shows that people in our post-Christian-conditioned culture (both Christians and non-Christians) watch the same television shows, attend the same sports games, go to the same movies, and listen to the same music; therefore, communicative strategies (especially those in preaching and teaching) should attempt to teach the Bible not from a theological framework but from a philosophical point-of reference. It means that the philosophies that come from current day music, sports, cinema and television should be leveraged as entry points (common ground exposing the human condition) and used as a contrasting modality with the principles of God’s kingdom that are shown in the Scriptures.
Communication in a post-Christian-conditioned culture means that in every message from media, advertising, print and art, there is an influencing philosophy behind it. Therefore, effective communication to the Post-Christian Condition tractions on an understanding of philosophy as the stage to engage the human mind and imagination on the things of God (eternal) with the philosophies of this world (temporal). It uses human philosophy as a magnet to attract attention to the hope and healing that the gospel offers to human brokenness, frailty and deficiency. In approaching communication from this new perspective, connection is made to post-Christian-conditioned people, as their reasoning and imaginative elements are aligned and opened to see eternal realities under the power of the Holy Spirit.