Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Europe and the Christian situation

I'm currently in Germany visiting family, but in another way, I'm visiting family of another sort, treading upon the same earth as our ancestors of the western Christian tradition. These are the very lands that was home to Christianity for centuries, the birthplaces of doctrine and the great theologians of the faith. We owe so much to the believers who contended for and hammered out the essence of our faith in fires of affliction and controversy. Christianity had a large part to play in the flourishing of the sciences, health care, social justice intervention, economics, and academics. But now, the dazzling blaze of vibrant Christianity is but a fading shaft of light struggling to peak through the gloomy clouds of secularism. Europe is now largely post Christian. They say that on a given Sunday, there are more Anglicans worshipping in Nigeria, than in all of England, US and Canada COMBINED!

If anything can be learned from history, it's this: These things happen. It may shock the types of things that are possible in a fallen world. The fear, of course, is that history will repeat itself. One of the purposes of studying history is that it gives us a good idea of what to expect in the future. We asian believers and immigrants have believed on the testimony of American and European preachers who taught our forefathers so long ago. Such preachers are long gone but we have embraced their message and are running with it.

Will the same thing happen to us that happened to them? Will we find ourselves getting tired with the fad and lay Christianity behind us in pursuit of other things? One would think that when a society is transformed by the influence of its faith, as is the case with Europe, that the religion of the people would continue to likewise flourish. On the other hand, there are countries like Thailand, whose religion has done nothing to improve the quality of life of the people; but this very religion remains rock solid and impenetrable. How odd ...