Following the horrible massacre in Sri Lanka on Easter Day it brings home to me the invariable link between martyrdom and mission. I am studying John Allen’s book The Future Church for my new podcast series which begins next week. The other important book John has contributed is The Global War on Christians. Depending how things go, I may follow my podcast on Future Church with a discussion of his second book.
Because I believe we are on the cusp of a 500 year change in the church. I have written about this before-that church history goes in 500 year cycles and we are at the end of one. The Age of Revolution from the Protestant revolt through to the present turning point was the time in which Western civilization, over a 500 year period rejected Catholic Christianity, and with that ultimate rejection has really rejected Christianity itself. Because of that rejection the West will continue to crumble.
What will rise in the place of Western Christian civilization? What is this turning point? What is the future?
It is the rise of global Christianity. The completion of the Great Commission.
Over the next 500 years we will see the ultimate triumph of Christianity, but it will not be the triumph of Roman Christianity. In other words, we should not expect the rest of the world to simply adopt Western style Catholicism. Instead Christianity will triumph from the South and the East.
Part of this triumph will be the result of the persecutions we are seeing in exactly those places. In Africa and the Far East the martyrdoms will continue and they will be the seed bed of the ultimate triumph of global-Southern led Christianity.
Martyrdom and Mission will go hand in hand.
The crisis in the Western Church is part of this same phenomenon. The crisis in the West is not just about sex abuse, financial corruption, the gay mafia and declining numbers.
The true crisis is theological and it is deeply rooted in the Age of Revolution out of which we are now passing.
I am excited about my podcast of The Future Church because we will see from a study of this book what the Holy Spirit is doing in his church and we will learn how to move forward in hope and faith rather than sitting around grumbling about how bad we think things are in the church today.
Make sure you tune in! The podcast will be published in abridged form free of charge at BreadBox Media and all other free podcast outlets. A full discussion will be posted each week here on the blog for Donor Subscribers.