Christendom

While I was in France and Germany, I was most struck by how in the cities and towns the center of the community is still, to this day, the cathedral or the church. This is true of both Strasbourg, France, with its Roman Catholic cathedral, and Heidelberg, Germany, with its Lutheran church. They dominate the central square. Around these churches and in their shadow are sidewalk cafes where people are talking and enjoying themselves; there are artists and musicians; people buying and selling, pursuing romance, and being part of a community. This makes a striking image of life in its abundance presided over by the Christian faith.

I am aware that many, if not most of the people gathered around the cathedral squares are no longer Christian believers. But still. It is surely significant that no one gathers around the modernist buildings that these towns also feature. In Cologne, a television tower with a spire that ascends to the heavens, the top of which features a revolving restaurant, which must have been quite impressive a few decades ago, though at the center of its own square, is all but abandoned and the restaurant has gone out of business. The civilization of Europe still, at least by habit, revolves around its Christian heritage. Even in the buildings around the squares, so old and quaint, often dating from the 17th century back into the medieval days, have a human scale and an aesthetic dimension quite lacking in modernist, postmodernists, and the commercial buildings of today.

This speaks of the concept of “Christendom,” a civilization informed by the Christian faith. There was a time when every citizen of the town would have been a member of the church. Everyone would have been baptized. In fact, even in secularist Europe today, most people when they were infants were baptized. Perhaps it is in theological traditions that practice infant baptism and that have served as “state churches”–Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, the Reformed–that have the most positive theologies of culture. At any rate, I am aware that some Christians today think the very notion of Christendom is impossible. Only individuals, they say, not cultures, can be Christians. The church is intrinsically alien from the world. The church that embraces the world or seeks to guide it becomes worldly. Some people think there can be a Christian society, but that only come from the church’s exercise of political power. This is the position of some Christians and, ironically, many secularists. Cultural influence, that of salt in food and light in dark places, is more elusive.

Do you think Christendom is possible, even as an ideal? Can there be a Christendom in which even non-Christians can find a haven, just as non-believers too prefer to gather in the shadow of gothic spires?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Winston Smith

    Of course, we had our own version of Christendom in America as well. It wasn’t a Gothic cathedral, but more likely a Congregationalist or Baptist church near the town square.

    Christendom is the happy by-product (though not the ultimate goal) of the Gospel. When believers in a society reach a critical mass (and it is said that as many as 50 percent of colonial Americans were born-again in the era of the Great Awakening), Christian ideas and attitudes permeate the general culture. Saloons close for lack of customers, hospitals, schools and charitable institutions are founded, and decency, orderliness and respect for human life infuse society like a sweet perfume. It happened once and I suppose it can happen again.

    Christendom is characterized as well by the checking of raw power and oppression. Conservative essayist Paul Craig Roberts writes that

    “All Americans have a huge stake in Christianity. Whether or not we are individually believers in Christ, we are beneficiaries of the moral doctrine that has curbed power and protected the weak. Power is the horse ridden by evil. … Power that is secularized and cut free of civilizing traditions is not limited by moral and religious scruples. V.I. Lenin made this clear when he defined the meaning of his dictatorship as ‘unlimited power, resting directly on force, not limited by anything.’ Christianity’s emphasis on the worth of the individual makes such power as Lenin claimed unthinkable.”

    The only problem comes when the atmosphere of Christianity becomes so prevalent that it becomes hard to tell where the church ends and the outside world begins, or to confuse “Christendom” (where every citizen of the town was a church member, and every infant was baptized) with the ekklesia, or the elect called by God. Jesus may have had such a situation in mind when he told the parable of the mustard seed, which grows from a tiny seed into the “greatest of herbs … so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof,” Matt. 13:32, the birds being said to represent unbelievers.

  • Winston Smith

    Of course, we had our own version of Christendom in America as well. It wasn’t a Gothic cathedral, but more likely a Congregationalist or Baptist church near the town square.

    Christendom is the happy by-product (though not the ultimate goal) of the Gospel. When believers in a society reach a critical mass (and it is said that as many as 50 percent of colonial Americans were born-again in the era of the Great Awakening), Christian ideas and attitudes permeate the general culture. Saloons close for lack of customers, hospitals, schools and charitable institutions are founded, and decency, orderliness and respect for human life infuse society like a sweet perfume. It happened once and I suppose it can happen again.

    Christendom is characterized as well by the checking of raw power and oppression. Conservative essayist Paul Craig Roberts writes that

    “All Americans have a huge stake in Christianity. Whether or not we are individually believers in Christ, we are beneficiaries of the moral doctrine that has curbed power and protected the weak. Power is the horse ridden by evil. … Power that is secularized and cut free of civilizing traditions is not limited by moral and religious scruples. V.I. Lenin made this clear when he defined the meaning of his dictatorship as ‘unlimited power, resting directly on force, not limited by anything.’ Christianity’s emphasis on the worth of the individual makes such power as Lenin claimed unthinkable.”

    The only problem comes when the atmosphere of Christianity becomes so prevalent that it becomes hard to tell where the church ends and the outside world begins, or to confuse “Christendom” (where every citizen of the town was a church member, and every infant was baptized) with the ekklesia, or the elect called by God. Jesus may have had such a situation in mind when he told the parable of the mustard seed, which grows from a tiny seed into the “greatest of herbs … so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof,” Matt. 13:32, the birds being said to represent unbelievers.

  • Terry Culler

    To tell the truth, I am pretty ambivalent about the idea of Christendom. At one level it seems highly desirable. After all, who could doubt that a society living by the standards of Christ followers would not be better than almost any other. On the other hand (and I think more tellingly) the Church often becomes the victim in such arrangements. I have come to believe that the Church is, always has been, and always will be an island of faith in the midst of a sea of unbelief (an image I steal from Willliam Willoman, btw). We are strongest when we depend wholly upon God and not upon our political and/or cultural power. The idea of Christendom does not sit easily with Lutheran theology and reflects a sort of theology of glory approach to the world. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man in whom there is not salvation (Ps. 146)

  • Terry Culler

    To tell the truth, I am pretty ambivalent about the idea of Christendom. At one level it seems highly desirable. After all, who could doubt that a society living by the standards of Christ followers would not be better than almost any other. On the other hand (and I think more tellingly) the Church often becomes the victim in such arrangements. I have come to believe that the Church is, always has been, and always will be an island of faith in the midst of a sea of unbelief (an image I steal from Willliam Willoman, btw). We are strongest when we depend wholly upon God and not upon our political and/or cultural power. The idea of Christendom does not sit easily with Lutheran theology and reflects a sort of theology of glory approach to the world. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man in whom there is not salvation (Ps. 146)

  • Winston Smith

    Again, the real problem comes when individual salvation becomes confused with church membership, especially when church membership is near-universal and automatic. “What do you mean, I need to become a Christian? Of course I’m a Christian — I was baptized! Of course I’m a Christian — I live in Christendom.”

    A Christian culture is a wonderful thing, and earnestly to be hoped for, prayed for and worked towartd, but let us never forget that salvation is indeed an individual matter for the person who must believe on Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his own sins.

  • Winston Smith

    Again, the real problem comes when individual salvation becomes confused with church membership, especially when church membership is near-universal and automatic. “What do you mean, I need to become a Christian? Of course I’m a Christian — I was baptized! Of course I’m a Christian — I live in Christendom.”

    A Christian culture is a wonderful thing, and earnestly to be hoped for, prayed for and worked towartd, but let us never forget that salvation is indeed an individual matter for the person who must believe on Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his own sins.

  • Dan Kempin

    “Can there be a Christendom in which even non-Christians can find a haven . . . ?”

    That’s a thought provoking question.

    What do you mean by “haven?”

    The Church should certainly be welcoming to the unbeliever, but can the Church provide a comfortable haven without reconciliation?

    You paint a rather idyllic picture of unbelievers drinking their coffee and enjoying life in the shadow of (but outside of) a great church. Is this beautiful or tragically ironic?

  • Dan Kempin

    “Can there be a Christendom in which even non-Christians can find a haven . . . ?”

    That’s a thought provoking question.

    What do you mean by “haven?”

    The Church should certainly be welcoming to the unbeliever, but can the Church provide a comfortable haven without reconciliation?

    You paint a rather idyllic picture of unbelievers drinking their coffee and enjoying life in the shadow of (but outside of) a great church. Is this beautiful or tragically ironic?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Winston,
    I wanted to respond to this buty your answer depressed me when you said saloons closed for lack of customers.
    That is not a christendom I want, or that would actually be the product of the gospel!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Winston,
    I wanted to respond to this buty your answer depressed me when you said saloons closed for lack of customers.
    That is not a christendom I want, or that would actually be the product of the gospel!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Undoubtedly, chritianity so pervaded European culture as to have great influence upon it and make it “christendom”.
    Vut there are problems with the concept. I think it has a tendency to confuse law and gospel. Making law and not gospel the point of focus. As government is about law and not Gospel.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Undoubtedly, chritianity so pervaded European culture as to have great influence upon it and make it “christendom”.
    Vut there are problems with the concept. I think it has a tendency to confuse law and gospel. Making law and not gospel the point of focus. As government is about law and not Gospel.

  • Peter Leavitt

    If one thinks of broad periods, the ancient, medieval, and modern, then probably at present the modern period is in decline and transition to another period about which we don’t have even an outline or glimmer. Post-modernism, like naturalism, existentialism, and positivism, will prove ephemeral.

    As long as the Christian Revelation exists, there is a possibility of development into some form of a new Christendom, possibly given present developments on a world scale. Christian providence is undoubtedly at work, though we ordinary mortals see through a glass darkly as to its reality.

    Wouldn’t it be a blessing if those sacred European cathedrals once again fill with the devout believers. My wife and I have spent countless hours in them in prayer and meditation.

  • Peter Leavitt

    If one thinks of broad periods, the ancient, medieval, and modern, then probably at present the modern period is in decline and transition to another period about which we don’t have even an outline or glimmer. Post-modernism, like naturalism, existentialism, and positivism, will prove ephemeral.

    As long as the Christian Revelation exists, there is a possibility of development into some form of a new Christendom, possibly given present developments on a world scale. Christian providence is undoubtedly at work, though we ordinary mortals see through a glass darkly as to its reality.

    Wouldn’t it be a blessing if those sacred European cathedrals once again fill with the devout believers. My wife and I have spent countless hours in them in prayer and meditation.

  • http://www.milesnice.com/article-test1.html Ronald Thompson

    I believe the answer to this question would be “No” on all accounts. In America, this would not be possible as we are incredibly diverse and someone would ultimately take offense to such focus being placed on Christendom. In Europe, the ideology is often much more open and the population is often much more diverse. Thus, there would most likely be quite an impressive uproar over the Christendom focus as well.

  • http://www.milesnice.com/article-test1.html Ronald Thompson

    I believe the answer to this question would be “No” on all accounts. In America, this would not be possible as we are incredibly diverse and someone would ultimately take offense to such focus being placed on Christendom. In Europe, the ideology is often much more open and the population is often much more diverse. Thus, there would most likely be quite an impressive uproar over the Christendom focus as well.

  • DonS

    “Christendom” in Europe 500 years ago was hardly idyllic. It was oppressive in many ways, because of the coalition of monarchy and Catholic hierarchy. Yes, there was an acknowledgement of God, seen through the soaring spires and fantastic artwork in the massive cathedral at the center of every city, but it was usually borne of corruption and hardship for the everyday population.

    Three years ago, we had the opportunity to tour much of southern Europe, along the Meditteranean, including Italy, Greece, Turkey, France, and Spain. I was struck, in particular, by the cathedral in Florence, which has on its massive “Doors of Paradise” a series of bronze panel mosaics created in the 1400′s by Ghiberti (I understand the doors on the cathedral now are replicas of the original, which are in a museum). You can get an idea about these doors here: http://www.gracecathedral.org/content/arts/cry_19960703.shtml

    According to our guide, the reason for the artwork is that the people of Florence, for the most part, could not read. So the bronze panels were made to present the Gospel to the people, pictorally. What struck me about Europe was that, except for tourists and a few dozen Sunday worshippers, these cathedrals stand empty. The other thing that struck me is that our tour guides were very knowledgeable about the Bible, in order to explain European history to us. In this particular instance, our guide spent the time to give us a detailed description of biblical history in connection with each of the mosaics on the doors of the cathedral, and even in Istanbul, our Muslim tour guide could accurately and completely explain the tenets of Christianity to us. It’s odd that perhaps the tour guides are the only remaining Europeans with a real connection to European Christendom.

  • DonS

    “Christendom” in Europe 500 years ago was hardly idyllic. It was oppressive in many ways, because of the coalition of monarchy and Catholic hierarchy. Yes, there was an acknowledgement of God, seen through the soaring spires and fantastic artwork in the massive cathedral at the center of every city, but it was usually borne of corruption and hardship for the everyday population.

    Three years ago, we had the opportunity to tour much of southern Europe, along the Meditteranean, including Italy, Greece, Turkey, France, and Spain. I was struck, in particular, by the cathedral in Florence, which has on its massive “Doors of Paradise” a series of bronze panel mosaics created in the 1400′s by Ghiberti (I understand the doors on the cathedral now are replicas of the original, which are in a museum). You can get an idea about these doors here: http://www.gracecathedral.org/content/arts/cry_19960703.shtml

    According to our guide, the reason for the artwork is that the people of Florence, for the most part, could not read. So the bronze panels were made to present the Gospel to the people, pictorally. What struck me about Europe was that, except for tourists and a few dozen Sunday worshippers, these cathedrals stand empty. The other thing that struck me is that our tour guides were very knowledgeable about the Bible, in order to explain European history to us. In this particular instance, our guide spent the time to give us a detailed description of biblical history in connection with each of the mosaics on the doors of the cathedral, and even in Istanbul, our Muslim tour guide could accurately and completely explain the tenets of Christianity to us. It’s odd that perhaps the tour guides are the only remaining Europeans with a real connection to European Christendom.

  • Booklover

    I don’t know if Christendom is possible, but I would welcome it. Sometimes our present-day Christianity is so individualized that it becomes positively strangulating.

    I would welcome the communal belief of a loving and forgiving God, not one that would hold materialism as the highest ideal, or the killing of infants as acceptable.

    I would welcome the thought that something is wrong because it is wrong; not that it is “wrong for you but right for me.”

    And absolutely I would welcome the beautiful music of Bach and Handel’s Christendom after suffering through much ugliness in recent church music. It is weird and odd that I am finding more beauty in the choral music of our local “secular” high school than I ever would find in my local (non-Lutheran) church.

  • Booklover

    I don’t know if Christendom is possible, but I would welcome it. Sometimes our present-day Christianity is so individualized that it becomes positively strangulating.

    I would welcome the communal belief of a loving and forgiving God, not one that would hold materialism as the highest ideal, or the killing of infants as acceptable.

    I would welcome the thought that something is wrong because it is wrong; not that it is “wrong for you but right for me.”

    And absolutely I would welcome the beautiful music of Bach and Handel’s Christendom after suffering through much ugliness in recent church music. It is weird and odd that I am finding more beauty in the choral music of our local “secular” high school than I ever would find in my local (non-Lutheran) church.

  • Tom Hering

    Latin America, which can be seen as the last bastion of Christendom, is secularizing – rejecting the Catholic church as a social and political power, as well as an absolute moral force. This was made clear enough by Argentina’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

    Obviously, Christendom doesn’t last. Unlike the Church, which does and will.

  • Tom Hering

    Latin America, which can be seen as the last bastion of Christendom, is secularizing – rejecting the Catholic church as a social and political power, as well as an absolute moral force. This was made clear enough by Argentina’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

    Obviously, Christendom doesn’t last. Unlike the Church, which does and will.

  • Norman Teigen

    I would think that these great European cathedrals predate the Enlightenment. Christianity and western philosophy worked together for a considerable part of the history which we know.

    The Enlightenment, of which the United States is a fortunate beneficiary, meant that there was a separation between the holy and the secular. As a result of the Enlightenment people were able to live their lives out on this earth without the fear of holy people telling them what was required for their immortal souls and how these demands were to be met in living out their mortal lives.

    To a conservative Lutheran Christian like myself, the Enlightenment was a fortunate set of circumstances. The secularism which it established is, I think, something to be valued rather than condemned.

    Today American cathedrals are not remnants from the religious past but instead are constructions of the secular. The benefit for the believer is that there is no compulsion to believe anything other than what the person himself thinks is sacred and holy according to the dictates of his own reason and conscience.

    Sadly, I think, some conservative Lutherans are attracted to the right-wing politics of the evangelicals and some Catholics who would, in the name of sacred philosophy, impose these political beliefs on the rest of us.

    The ironic thing is that while the cathedrals predominate in European countries, the believers are in short supply. The Pew Forum documents, on the other hand, the strong religious beliefs of Americans who live and practice their faith without the benefit of established churches.

  • Norman Teigen

    I would think that these great European cathedrals predate the Enlightenment. Christianity and western philosophy worked together for a considerable part of the history which we know.

    The Enlightenment, of which the United States is a fortunate beneficiary, meant that there was a separation between the holy and the secular. As a result of the Enlightenment people were able to live their lives out on this earth without the fear of holy people telling them what was required for their immortal souls and how these demands were to be met in living out their mortal lives.

    To a conservative Lutheran Christian like myself, the Enlightenment was a fortunate set of circumstances. The secularism which it established is, I think, something to be valued rather than condemned.

    Today American cathedrals are not remnants from the religious past but instead are constructions of the secular. The benefit for the believer is that there is no compulsion to believe anything other than what the person himself thinks is sacred and holy according to the dictates of his own reason and conscience.

    Sadly, I think, some conservative Lutherans are attracted to the right-wing politics of the evangelicals and some Catholics who would, in the name of sacred philosophy, impose these political beliefs on the rest of us.

    The ironic thing is that while the cathedrals predominate in European countries, the believers are in short supply. The Pew Forum documents, on the other hand, the strong religious beliefs of Americans who live and practice their faith without the benefit of established churches.

  • DonS

    Norman @ 11: I want to explore this statement of your’s a bit further: “Sadly, I think, some conservative Lutherans are attracted to the right-wing politics of the evangelicals and some Catholics who would, in the name of sacred philosophy, impose these political beliefs on the rest of us.”

    You applaud the separation of the holy from the secular in your comment, and then proceed to blur them back together in the above statement. On what basis do you assume that “some conservative Lutherans” are attracted to “the right-wing politics of the evangelicals and some Catholics”? Maybe they are simply attracted to conservative or libertarian political ideas, regardless of who else holds them. They should not be condemned for this, should they?

    There have been those evangelical and Catholic leaders on the right who have tended to mix politics and faith, such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson from the Moral Majority days. I don’t think it occurs as often with the younger evangelical leaders, and when politics is referenced, the references tend to be more limited to explicit moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage. There are also religious leaders of the left who have mixed the two, such as the Berrigan brothers and Jim Wallis. But neither group defines their respective political movements, and their decision to be politically active should not cause the entire left or right to be labeled in connection with those particular adherents. The ideals stand alone, in the kingdom of the left, apart from faith. Conservative Lutherans of either political stripe should be welcome, without reproof or sadness, in the Body of Christ.

  • DonS

    Norman @ 11: I want to explore this statement of your’s a bit further: “Sadly, I think, some conservative Lutherans are attracted to the right-wing politics of the evangelicals and some Catholics who would, in the name of sacred philosophy, impose these political beliefs on the rest of us.”

    You applaud the separation of the holy from the secular in your comment, and then proceed to blur them back together in the above statement. On what basis do you assume that “some conservative Lutherans” are attracted to “the right-wing politics of the evangelicals and some Catholics”? Maybe they are simply attracted to conservative or libertarian political ideas, regardless of who else holds them. They should not be condemned for this, should they?

    There have been those evangelical and Catholic leaders on the right who have tended to mix politics and faith, such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson from the Moral Majority days. I don’t think it occurs as often with the younger evangelical leaders, and when politics is referenced, the references tend to be more limited to explicit moral issues such as abortion and gay marriage. There are also religious leaders of the left who have mixed the two, such as the Berrigan brothers and Jim Wallis. But neither group defines their respective political movements, and their decision to be politically active should not cause the entire left or right to be labeled in connection with those particular adherents. The ideals stand alone, in the kingdom of the left, apart from faith. Conservative Lutherans of either political stripe should be welcome, without reproof or sadness, in the Body of Christ.

  • Winston Smith

    Bror Erickson @5,

    I apologize heartily if I depressed you. I am no teetotaler, and in the spirit of I Tim. 5:23 I enjoy a bit of wine for my stomach’s (and my brain’s) sake. I suspect that you and I would enjoy sharing a quiet drink or two in a saloon somewhere.

    I was referring to the 18th-century gin houses that were awful places of vice and excess. The Great Awakening (and, later, the Welsh Revival) saved a lot of men and women from hopeless, hard-core alcoholism, which is a very different thing.

  • Winston Smith

    Bror Erickson @5,

    I apologize heartily if I depressed you. I am no teetotaler, and in the spirit of I Tim. 5:23 I enjoy a bit of wine for my stomach’s (and my brain’s) sake. I suspect that you and I would enjoy sharing a quiet drink or two in a saloon somewhere.

    I was referring to the 18th-century gin houses that were awful places of vice and excess. The Great Awakening (and, later, the Welsh Revival) saved a lot of men and women from hopeless, hard-core alcoholism, which is a very different thing.

  • Brody Smith

    “Christendom” is coming wether we welcome it or not. When Christ returns every knee will bow. The question that I have is whether the world will become filled with the knowledge of God before Jesus returns, or will the church slowly dwindle until it becomes a small speck in an unbelieving world. I know which one I prefer.

    The other question that I have is when will us Lutherans stop ignoring the law of the King and act like all we need is the Gospel. John the baptists message was repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand. As baptised believers we have the mark of citizenship in that kingdom. As citizens in Christ’s kingdom..we should stop giving willing service to the Lord of the kingdom of the the air and our flesh. We have a merciful, king whose burden is light. We should repent of our ignorance of his law and return to the gracious king who purchased us from slavory to our sin and the devil. Repent for the kingdom of God is now.

  • Brody Smith

    “Christendom” is coming wether we welcome it or not. When Christ returns every knee will bow. The question that I have is whether the world will become filled with the knowledge of God before Jesus returns, or will the church slowly dwindle until it becomes a small speck in an unbelieving world. I know which one I prefer.

    The other question that I have is when will us Lutherans stop ignoring the law of the King and act like all we need is the Gospel. John the baptists message was repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand. As baptised believers we have the mark of citizenship in that kingdom. As citizens in Christ’s kingdom..we should stop giving willing service to the Lord of the kingdom of the the air and our flesh. We have a merciful, king whose burden is light. We should repent of our ignorance of his law and return to the gracious king who purchased us from slavory to our sin and the devil. Repent for the kingdom of God is now.

  • Brody Smith

    My flesh is weak…..It seems I am a terrible speller, not that there aren’t other proofs to go by. Though, I should edit a post on an English professor’s blog.

  • Brody Smith

    My flesh is weak…..It seems I am a terrible speller, not that there aren’t other proofs to go by. Though, I should edit a post on an English professor’s blog.

  • saddler

    Call me a romantic, but I found the remnants of Christendom in France to be one of the most compelling aspects of my trip there last year. I know things were far from perfect back then, but I couldn’t help but be inspired by the rock entrance to the cathedrals in Toulouse and Carcasonne. Hard rock worn by so much foot traffic over hundreds of years is testament to a substantial faith. The craftsmanship and beauty inside and out was astonishing to me. Would that we could have this kind of beauty and longevity in our church architecture in the US! If these citidels are a component of ‘Christendom’ , sign me up.

  • saddler

    Call me a romantic, but I found the remnants of Christendom in France to be one of the most compelling aspects of my trip there last year. I know things were far from perfect back then, but I couldn’t help but be inspired by the rock entrance to the cathedrals in Toulouse and Carcasonne. Hard rock worn by so much foot traffic over hundreds of years is testament to a substantial faith. The craftsmanship and beauty inside and out was astonishing to me. Would that we could have this kind of beauty and longevity in our church architecture in the US! If these citidels are a component of ‘Christendom’ , sign me up.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Latin America, which can be seen as the last bastion of Christendom, is secularizing – rejecting the Catholic church as a social and political power, as well as an absolute moral force. This was made clear enough by Argentina’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.”

    Perhaps it is just evidence that it is already secularized. The birthrate has been dropping for about 30 years. That seems to indicate that the Catholic church’s influence waned 30 years ago and now they are just reaping the effects. If some percent continue in faithfulness to the Catholic teaching on human life, they could theoretically reverse the trend.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Latin America, which can be seen as the last bastion of Christendom, is secularizing – rejecting the Catholic church as a social and political power, as well as an absolute moral force. This was made clear enough by Argentina’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.”

    Perhaps it is just evidence that it is already secularized. The birthrate has been dropping for about 30 years. That seems to indicate that the Catholic church’s influence waned 30 years ago and now they are just reaping the effects. If some percent continue in faithfulness to the Catholic teaching on human life, they could theoretically reverse the trend.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Would that we could have this kind of beauty and longevity in our church architecture in the US! If these citidels are a component of ‘Christendom’ , sign me up.”

    A fun project you can do with your kids is to get a model of a famous cathedral to build together and then research it together. It makes a great history lesson. You can find quotes by the architects and the princes and bishops who commissioned the projects etc. Our schools are quite derelict in teaching our children about the people and motivation behind the achievements in our western culture. Many were sincere Christians who wanted their spectacular contributions to glorify God.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Would that we could have this kind of beauty and longevity in our church architecture in the US! If these citidels are a component of ‘Christendom’ , sign me up.”

    A fun project you can do with your kids is to get a model of a famous cathedral to build together and then research it together. It makes a great history lesson. You can find quotes by the architects and the princes and bishops who commissioned the projects etc. Our schools are quite derelict in teaching our children about the people and motivation behind the achievements in our western culture. Many were sincere Christians who wanted their spectacular contributions to glorify God.

  • Philip Larson

    And this we pray, “Thy kingdom come.”

  • Philip Larson

    And this we pray, “Thy kingdom come.”


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