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Post-Christendom, 2nd Edition

Church and Mission in a Strange New World

Post-Christendom, 2nd Edition

Church and Mission in a Strange New World

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334057048
Number of Pages: 267
Published: 30/04/2018
Width: 15.3 cm
Height: 22.9 cm

Western societies are experiencing a series of disorientating culture shifts. Uncertain where we are heading, observers use "post" words to signal that familiar landmarks are disappearing, but we cannot yet discern the shape of what is emerging. One of the most significant shifts, "post-Christendom," raises many questions about the mission and role of the church in this strange new world.

What does it mean to be one of many minorities in a culture that the church no longer dominates? How do followers of Jesus engage in mission from the margins? What do we bring with us as precious resources from the fading Christendom era, and what do we lay down as baggage that will weigh us down on our journey into post-Christendom?

In this second edition of this provocative and important book, Post-Christendom identifies the challenges and opportunities of this unsettling but exciting time. Stuart Murray presents an overview of the formation and development of the Christendom system, examines the legacies this has left, and highlights the questions that the Christian community needs to consider in this period of cultural transition.

This is a UK edition.

Preface to the First Edition xiii

Preface to the Second Edition xv

1. The End of Christendom 1

Snapshots of Post-Christendom 1

What Post-Christendom Is Not 4

The Meaning of Post-Christendom 21


2. The Coming of Christendom 24

The Achievement of Christendom 24

Constantine 25

From Pre-Christendom to Christendom 34

Constantine’s Successors 35

Converting the Empire 36

Some Questions 39


3. The Expansion of Christendom 41

From the Margins to the Center 41

From the Center to the Margins 42

Strengthening the Center 44

Extending the Boundaries 46

How Christian Was Christendom? 53

More Questions 58


4. The Christendom Shift 60

Augustine 60

Summarizing the Christendom Shift 66

Illustrating the Christendom Shift 69

Objections to the Christendom Shift 74

Alternatives to the Christendom Shift 79


5. The Heart of Christendom 84

The Culture of Christendom 84

Truth and Violence 86

The Bible 91

The Church 95

Mission 98

Marginal Voices 100


6. The Disintegration of Christendom 109

Christendom in Turmoil 110

Reforming Christendom 113

Rejecting Christendom 119

Reflecting on Christendom 130


7. The Christendom Legacy 132

The Demise of Christendom in Western Europe 132

Vestiges of Christendom 139

The Christendom Mindset 149

Responding to the Christendom Legacy 153


8. Post-Christendom: Mission 161

Mission in Late Christendom 161

Evangelism in Post-Christendom 166

Mission in a Plural Society 171

Church and Society 176

Church and State 180


9. Post-Christendom: Church 185

What Kind of Church? 185

Emerging Church 186

The Post-Christendom Lens 189

Inherited Church 192

Simple Church 201

Reimagining Church 203

Revival or Survival? 207


10. Post-Christendom: Resources 209

Church 210

Bible 214

Theology 219

Imagery 220

Terminology 223

Jesus at the Center 225


Appendix 1: The Donatists 231

Appendix 2: The Waldensians 235

Appendix 3: The Lollards 239

Appendix 4: The Anabaptists 243

Bibliography 247

Stuart Murray

Stuart Murray is a freelance trainer and consultant working under the auspices of the Anabaptist Network. He is the author of several books, including Church after Christendom (2005), The Naked Anabaptist (2011), and A Vast Minority (2015).

"You will find this well-written and compellingly-argued work to be as challenging as it is insightful, and as exciting as it is encouraging." - Greg Boyd, Senior Pastor, Woodland Hills Church, Maplewood, Minnesota

"What an illuminating read! Its clear-eyed analysis of how Christians got so tragically off course is a must-read for all those ready to rediscover Jesus, reimagine church, and live into hope for a more just, gentle world." - Sara Wenger Shenk, President, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana

"I read the first edition of Post-Christendom when it came out fourteen years ago and have returned to it regularly since. Stuart Murray's plea for us to disavow Christendom and rediscover Jesus-centered mission from the margins of contemporary society is no less a clarion call today than it was back then." - Michael Frost, Morling College, Sydney

"I used to recommend the first edition to all the leaders, pastors, church planters, and students I could. I will now require the second edition for all I work with. This is a crucial read." - Cam Roxburgh, Senior Pastor of Southside Community Church, National Director of Forge Canada