An Open Letter to Pastors in a Post-Christian World

An Open Letter to Pastors in a Post-Christian World June 4, 2024

I received a message recently from a pastor saying that a group he was in with other ministers had been discussing my “Letter to Pastors” and thanking me for it.

Which made me think, “Huh?  Did I write a ‘Letter to Pastors’?  Is he confusing me with someone else?”  So I did a search for “Veith” and “Letter to Pastors,” and it turned out I did write such a thing!

A few years ago, the publisher Crossway asked some of its authors to write brief “Open Letters” on topics they had written about in their books.  (For the series, go here.)  They asked me to write one drawing on my book Post-Christian:  A Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, which is the sequel to my earlier Postmodern Times.

I had completely forgotten that I wrote this.   Looking at it again after having forgotten it, I could read it as if it were written by someone else.  And with that objectivity, I could say without bias or bragging that it’s actually pretty good.  Since pastors today need encouragement, probably even more than they did in 2020, I thought I’d post that letter here, quoting part of it and linking to the rest.

And since it is an “open letter,” I thought I should make it a free post in hopes that subscribers to this blog who are laypeople would pass it along to their pastors, that pastors who are subscribers would share it with their brethren in the Office, and that friends on social media would spread it far and wide.

An Open Letter to the Pastor in a Post-Christian World

Dear Pastors,

As you well know, you are on the front lines of today’s cultural and spiritual battles. Every day, in the ordinary course of your ministry, you are dealing with the casualties and consequences of secularism. But don’t lose heart. As in frozen Narnia, there are signs that “Aslan is on the move.”

Though we are in post-Christian times, when the culture is becoming increasingly secularized, Christianity is far from “over.” Quite the contrary. In fact, some experts, who are not necessarily Christian, are saying that the next “post-”movement—after post-modern and post-Christian—may be post-secular.

Here are some reasons to be encouraged. And some developments that you can take part in with your own ministry.

The Morphing of Christianity’s Rivals

Modern and postmodern ideas and practices that have challenged Christianity have been taken to ever greater extremes. But some have been pushed so far that they are coming apart or morphing into something new.

  • Science was thought to have banished the mysteries of existence, but now it is showing the universe to be more mysterious than ever.
  • The Sexual Revolution has brought on the #MeToo movement. Prominent individuals who bought into the 1960’s line that “sex is no big deal,” are learning that sexual morality is important after all.
  • Education would eliminate the need for religion, some people thought, but today progressive educational theories are failing dramatically, with classical Christian schools and homeschools consistently outperforming them.
  • Universities that were once bastions of academic freedom and intellectual inquiry are now centers of censorship and indoctrination.
  • Feminism, which insisted that women are no different from men, must now contend with transgenderism, with men insisting that they be accepted as women.
  • The LGBT movement, after winning same-sex marriage, now says that gender identity and sexual attraction are fluid.
  • Technology is performing wonders, but in giving us virtual reality and virtual relationships, it is undermining actual reality and actual relationships.
  • Society has become an assemblage of isolated individuals, under a polarized and dysfunctional government, broken families, and cultural malaise. One of the few areas of agreement is that we need to recapture a sense of community.
  • The arts seem to be at a creative dead end, rehashing their past and running out of new ideas.
  • Environmentalists fight climate change and warn against a coming apocalypse, but some are welcoming that apocalypse, advocating the extinction of the human race. All sides forget that human beings are also part of nature and thus subject to natural law.

Despite the prevailing view that reality is nothing more than a construction that we can deconstruct and reconstruct at will, the objective reality that is God’s creation will always—eventually—assert itself.

Christians can be confident that they have reality on their side.

[Keep reading. . .]

And if you do continue reading, you will hear about other encouraging topics under these headings:

The Nones Are Still Religious  

The Biggest Demographic of the Unchurched Is Reachable  [Namely, the white working class.]

The Christian Revival in the Rest of the World

And I back up all of this and offer ideas for responding to these issues in my book Post-Christian.

 

HT:  Rev. Paul Williams

Illustration:  Pastor reading a letter, smiling [AI-generated image] via StableDiffusion.

"A "mook"? Are you playing Trivial Pursuit with the Bubble Boy?PS-I know its "the "moops"."

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