According to Stuart Murray*, Christendom is the creation and maintenance of a Christian nation by ensuring a close relationship of power between the Christian Church and its host culture.1 Murray summarizes Christendom values as: a commitment to hierarchy and the status quo; the loss of lay involvement; institutional values rather than community focus; church at the center of society rather than the margins; the use of political power to bring in the Kingdom; religious compulsion; punitive rather than restorative justice; marginalization of women, the poor, and dissident movements; inattentiveness to the criticisms of those outraged by the historic association of Christianity with patriarchy, warfare, injustice and patronage; partiality for respectability and top-down mission; attractional evangelism; assuming the Christian story is known; and a preoccupation with the rich and powerful.2
The emerging church seeks a post-Christendom approach to being church and mission through: renouncing imperialistic approaches to language and cultural imposition; making ‘truth claims’ with humility and respect; overcoming the public/private dichotomy; moving church from the center to the margins; moving from a place of privilege in society to one voice amongst many; a transition from control to witness, maintenance to mission and institution to movement.
* Stuart Murray is Oasis Director of Church Planting and Evangelism and Lecturer Spurgeon’s College, London, England
- Stuart Murray, Post Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strangle Land (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2004) 83-88.
- Ibid, pp. 83-88, 200-202.