In my last post I shared my observations about Christian students’ lack of commitment to the church.
How did they come to this position?
I offer the following thoughts with a bit of caution. See what you think:
1. We forgot our ecclesiology (theology of the church). A strong ecclesiology says, in effect, there is no true Christian spirituality outside the church. We are members of the body of Christ. We can’t live without the body, and the body can’t live (fully) without us. There’s really no “opting out” of the church. That’s the message of 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 5, and other passages.
Until our churches teach and practice this ecclesiology again – and pass it on to young people – it’s doubtful that Millennials will hear the call of God to rediscover the church.
2. The Campus caricaturized the church. The campus has seized upon the ideas of the church as a historic oppressor of women and minorities, a willing participant in colonialism, and a modern opponent of nonconforming gender and sexual identities.
This narrative is instilled in students, sending them into a quandry. They frequently feel loyal to family and church back home, yet they have deep (often deeper) sympathies with the oppressed. As a result, they may live a divided life between what they perceive as the naïve, but sentimentally valued, realm of family and church on the one hand, and the informed, socially aware realm of campus, where people are “woke” to societal injustice.
The church as a historic oppressor is not a topic of open dialogue on campus. No one questions it, or is even allowed to question it, short of being shamed or shouted down.
But is it true? My contention about the sins of the church, past and present, is that there is something like a 90-10 rule in play. I’ll write about this rule in my next post.