Has the church in North America and the Western world been "enculturated?" Wikipedia defines "enculturation" as "the process by which a person [or institution] learns the requirements of the culture by which he or she is surrounded, and acquires values and behaviors that are appropriate or necessary in that culture . . . If successful, enculturation results in competence in the language, values and rituals of the culture."
The issue that I wish to raise in this blog is that I believe in general that the North American church has indeed been enculturated. Instead of successfully responding to the secularization and desensitization of moral values around us, we have become people only a "little bit better" than the worldings around us. Oh--excuse me--we should say the "pre-Christians" around us, as if they just need a bit more Christianization to become full-fledged members of our post-modern church fellowships. We have become so intent on dumbing down the church so that we are "seeker sensitive" or "seeker targeted" that we have lost the church! In larger churches, the Sunday morning service is a "show" to watch. Lest church worship leaders and others object, that's what my wife's fellow workers call their megachurch experience on Saturday night--a "show."
While many may say this is just another killjoy naysayer who has an axe to grind, the questions and claim I raise in this blog remain. Where ARE the "fully devoted followers of Christ" (a la Willow Creek's vision) that churches tout as the endpoint of their vision??! Where ARE the "disciples" that Jesus demanded in the Great Commission of Matthew 28? Where ARE the in-depth Christians able to take on this world order intellectually, culturally and powerfully? Where ARE the anointed, Spirit-filled, visibly gifted individuals whose presence carries the "aroma" of Christ to a needy and lost world (2 Corinthians 2)?
I predict that many, if not most, evangelical churches in North America will cave in to homosexuality as an "allowable" lifestyle in the near future. They will do so, not out of strenuous biblical research and exposition, but out of a need to "identify" with them in our church fellowships. Just like many accept young couples "living together" as "allowable" if not preferred. And, to those who say that we need to "accept them where they are so as to lead them to become what God wants them to be," where is the evidence that most of them have in fact become "what God wants them to be??"
Evangelical Christians are blamed for many things and many attitudes--narrow, bigoted, right-wingers, hate-mongers, and so forth. What ever happened to the first century sneer--"They're Christ-followers?!" My desire is for the Church to BE THE CHURCH!--not a shadow of what Christ died and rose again for, but a vibrant, powerful force with which to be reckoned. Isn't that what God wants after all is said and done?