The Growing Divide Between The Church And Culture

Is there a growing divide between the church and culture? Is the distance perceived or factual? 

Here is a great quote from the David Kinnaman book, UnChristian. Since coming out several years ago, the text has inspired me to consider a few perceptions that our culture has formed about the church. Whether we have helped shape these perceptions or if these perceptions have been created by the un-churched culture, we have a problem. The church has lost authority and integrity in a time when it is most needed. 

Here is a quote from the book and a few thoughts to get us thinking.

“At first, I took on the project because I felt we would learn how Christians could connect more effectively with people outside the faith. If we understood outsiders’ objections, I reasoned, perhaps we could better connect with them. But what we found was their perceptions are more than superficial image problems.” – Kinnaman, Page 14

I am not a fan of the word 'outsiders'. But, Kinnaman simply uses the term to delineate from churched and un-churched. What is the image of the church in the eyes of this generation? Our mindsets will vary on this topic depending on many factors:

-A person who was raised in a healthy church will think differently from a person who was raised in an unhealthy church
-The person who has experienced mature Christians and the person who has been in relationship with hypocrites will also have differing viewpoints on this matter
-People who have been hurt by the church will be quick to build a negative view of the church, even knowing that the church is not perfect
-I have even seen personality types affect the way we perceive this topic (for example, critical people will have little optimism or even patience for the problems in the church)

Try and take a step back from your personal worldview of the church and evaluate the relationship of the church to culture. Let's talk. Here are 4 talking points on the American church that I have paraphrased from the book:

1.       COMPASSION – Are we lacking compassion for people and for conditions in the world. What about true zeal/action?

2.       IGNORANCE – Has our lack of understanding the culture and world around us caused poor contextualization of the gospel in the church?
3.       DISSATISFACTION – We may be aware of the issues and problems within the church, but, are we willing to do anything about our dissatisfaction?
4.       AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY – Have we become such a melting pot of ideas (pluralism) that we have lost our distinctiveness and biblical DNA to tolerance?

Jeff Grenell