Christian Living in a Post-Christendom America

The following is a modified manuscript/outline from a sermon I preached on 1 Peter 2:11-25 at Lake Drive Baptist Church in December 2013.
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I’ve entitled my sermon, “Christian Living in a Post-Christendom America.” What do I mean by “christendom”? “Christendom” refers to the “Christian Empire,” where Christianity is associated with the state, promoted by the state, or the dominant religion within the state.

In a sense, one could have previously referred to America as a form of this Christendom. But now days, it’s quite clear that we live in a post-Christendom America. –Not only non-Christian, but even increasingly anti-Christian.

A mere casual awareness of the news makes one aware of the rapid pace of secularization in our country. For example, only 17 years after President Clinton signed DOMA into law, President Obama successfully pushed for its repeal. And keep in mind, he entered office opposed to gay marriage. And the rapidness of this shift only mirrors trends in the general population. Or again, it only takes a brief glance at recent headlines to demonstrate this:

  • “Starbucks Enters Same-Sex Marriage Boycott Wars.”
  • “Supreme Court Will Consider Hobby Lobby Contraception Mandate Case.”
  • Referring to Chick-Fil-A: “‘Eat More Ignorance’ Is More Like It.”
  • “Southern Baptists Convention Fighting ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal.”“Should the Boy Scouts of America Lift Its Ban on Gay Members?”
  • “New Mexico Supreme Court Unanimously Rules Against Discriminating Anti-Gay Photographer.”
  • “Judge Orders Colorado Bakery to Cater for Same-Sex Weddings.”
  • “‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Suspended for Anti-Gay Remarks.”

And without necessarily endorsing any of the parties in these conflicts– And no matter what you think about these controversies on a political level, they nonetheless indicate an increasing hostility and threat to Christian thought and values. … We live in an ever-increasingly secular culture.

So, how are we as Christians to respond? What does Christian living look like in a post-Christendom America? 1 Peter has much to say about how Christians should live within a non-Christian and even anti-Christian society.

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“We Will Have to Change”

Recent events have caused us to rethink our society.[1] It has been said that “we [our nation] will have to change.” Many solutions have been proposed.

Before the Genesis-flood, God described humanity as such: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Gen 6:5). “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways” (11, 12). One might find some parallels between this description and they way many individuals currently feel about our society.

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