If that weren't bad enough, the emergence of post-modernism undermines even the possibility of securing the truth. Our theological language is inadequate to inspire the reign of God in the hearts of those formed by such a vastly different worldview. Look around us, wherever a modernist worldview has taken hold, Christianity is dying; it's just a matter of time.
So, is there a future for Mainline Christianity? I don't know. It is clear to me that we are once again on the cross. And at this critical moment we need to do what Jesus did. We need to reach into the depths of our tradition and recast a vision of the reign of God -- recast a vision in terms that can lift the modernist world from spiritual despair, recast a vision enriched by conversation with all people who faithfully seek to respond to the presence of God. But let's be clear, that vision must point to the same God our lineage has known for 4000+ years.
Will Christianity as such survive such an effort? Could be. But whether we do, or whether we don't, a still more glorious dawn awaits the reign of God. For it does not depend upon us; it depends upon the one revealed as the God of Israel, the one revealed as the Triune God of Christianity; it depends upon the one who offers everyone the beauty of each new dawn.
Shall we try to get ourselves off the cross, or shall we commit our last breath to a still more glorious dawn just now beginning to rise over the next iteration of the reign of God? That choice is ours.
The Rev. Sam Alexander is Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael, California. Sam has served congregations in Maryland and in the San Francisco Bay area and serves as an Adjunct Instructor in Homiletics (Preaching) at San Francisco Theological Seminary. He can be found on the web at www.gracecomesfirst.net.