Making Disciples in a Post-Christian Culture

White Wing Messenger|May 2020

Making Disciples in a Post-Christian Culture
A post-Christian society is not merely a society in which agnosticism or atheism is the prevailing fundamental belief.
KATHY CREASY

It is a society rooted in the history, culture, and practices of Christianity but in which the religious beliefs of Christianity have been either rejected, or worse, forgotten.1

In this post-Christian world where the family is crumbling, morality is defined by secular humanism, and the church is declining in numbers, as well as influence, many Christians are “shrugging their shoulders” in complacency or “wringing their hands” in despair. Yet, even in this post-Christian world, the purpose of the church remains. Jesus commanded His disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19, 20 NIV). In Ephesians 4:11–16, Paul reminds believers that the ministries of the church were given to prepare people for works of service and bring them to maturity, “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

In this post-Christian world that is becoming increasingly indifferent and sometimes hostile to the Christian faith, what can the church (your local church) do to fulfill this command?

1 John O. Sullivan, “Our Post-Christian Society,” National Review, https:// www.nationalreview.com/2013/12/our-post-christian-society-johnosullivan/, (accessed December 14, 2019).

First, we must understand what a disciple is. The term discipleship in today’s context is somewhat diluted. Often the term disciple is simply anyone who has believed on Jesus, or who attends church regularly, or who serves others through acts of kindness. Jim Putnam, in his book Real-Life Discipleship, defines a disciple as:

Someone who knows who Christ is and accepts Him as their authority or Lord. 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) reminds us, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.”

Someone who is shaped by Christ. John’s analogy of the vine and the branches in chapter 15 reminds us of this process. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts offevery branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1,2 NIV).

Someone who is faithful to the mission. Throughout his epistles, the apostle Paul testified of his faithfulness to the mission of God. In his final letter to Timothy he says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV).2

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May 2020