TheBlaze’s Carly Hoilman contributed to this report.
Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wa., is on a mission to wake Christians up from the illusion that faith is alive and well in America.
The centerpiece of Driscoll’s new book titled, “A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future?,” is that we’re living in a “post-Christian culture — a culture fundamentally at odds with faith in Jesus.”
Culture Is Quickly Shifting
The pastor recently told TheBlaze that he believes cultural norms are rapidly shifting in American society and that these changes come at the same time that Christianity is losing its place of prominence.
“A commitment to secularism to pluralism has really come very, very rapidly, and certain issues like gay marriage have accelerated and highlighted that,” Driscoll said. “More biblical, conservative traditions…values have gone from being respected to really despised in very short order.”
Driscoll explained that 40 years ago, homosexuality was still listed in psychological manuals and textbooks as a mental disorder, and now it is considered a civil right. He added, “That’s a quick flip.”
[sharequote align=”center”]”We are living in a post-Christian culture — a culture fundamentally at odds with faith in Jesus.”[/sharequote]
He believes that there’s been a paradigm shift in society from “morality to personality.”
Rather than moral absolutes governing what’s right or wrong, Driscoll said that there’s a general view that people should be true to themselves — that they should essentially stand by their feelings and desires.
“We’ve shifted from a worldview where there is a God who makes laws, and they apply to you, to whether or not there is a God it does not matter — ‘I don’t recognize any laws external to me. The only thing that guides me is my own internal convictions,'” he said. “Authority has shifted from external to internal, from God to me. And what you end up with is not a discussion of morality but a defense of personality. And that’s the world we live in.”
Driscoll believes that there is “a culture of complete anarchy in the name of tolerance and diversity.”
“One in four women sexual assaulted, one in six men, people that are sexually addicted, sexually assaulted, sexually abused, rampant debt, broken families, suicidal,” he told TheBlaze. “The number one category of prescription medication is antidepressants. Somebody’s gotta stand up and say, ‘This ain’t working — we gotta try something else.’”
One of the Big Questions Facing Christians
One of the big questions facing Christians, the pastor said, is how to peacefully exist in this context of change without compromising values and theology.
“Christians need to understand that Christians and non-Christians just disagree about a lot of things,” he said. “We disagree about where we come from, we disagree about why we’re here, we disagree about what we’re supposed to do, we disagree with what we’re supposed to do with our pots and our pans and our genitals and our wallets — we just disagree on all kinds of things.”
Driscoll went on to say that one of the biggest threats to Christians is the assumption that compromising on what they believe will help them or serve a positive purpose for the non-believers they interact with. Doing this, he said, simply doesn’t work for anyone
With the changing cultural dynamics, Driscoll warned that Christians need to start getting better at understanding suffering and dealing with pushback, as they’re poised to receive more of it.
“In the West we’re not really familiar with suffering [and] Christendom and Christians have tended to be in a position of power, a respected position, and so all the issues surrounding suffering and criticism and such — we’re not very good at that,” he said. “And it’s something we’d better get better at pretty quickly because it’s just going to get harder to stay true to what we believe.”
Driscoll said that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to be Bible-believing — and practicing — Christians and that there are “no social perks to being a Christian” in today’s society.
Issues Facing Churches
The decreasing role and reverence for churches is also noticeable, Driscoll said. While houses or worship were once much-respected, today he believes that this dynamic has profoundly changed.
“The churches, for the most part, held a very respected place in society — and if you’re going to be a good business leader, a good citizen, a moral person, well obviously you believe in God and you’re involved in some religious community,” he said. “So what that led to was really a lot of people who weren’t committed to their religious beliefs — they didn’t really live them out — but they would sort of wave the flag because of the social benefits that came with it.”
Driscoll believes the social benefits and connotations the church once offered are decreasing. Being ostracized or marginalized for being in the pews makes it somewhat less appealing to participate in church. While he doesn’t necessarily believe that there are fewer Christians, he said “the teams have gotten very clear.”
[sharequote align=”center”]”Somebody’s gotta stand up and say, ‘This ain’t working — we gotta try something else.'”[/sharequote]
Fewer of those who went or go to church mainly to bask in these benefits are now doing so and for obvious reasons; the purported benefits are diminishing.
With the changing dynamics, Christians have to find a balance, Driscoll argued. What battles will they choose to fight? Which will they choose to ignore? Of these concerns, Driscoll said, “You can’t fight over everything, and you’re not very courageous if you won’t fight for anything.”
The pastor said it’s important to decide what’s worth fighting for and then to be prepared to deal with the consequences of speaking out.
Driscoll expounds upon these themes in “A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future?“