Monday, September 26, 2016

Ponder: a narrative of doom becoming a theology of panic

"Secularisation functions as a theology of doom.  People believe it.  The goading analysis of 'death' and 'endgame' enters the Christian psyche.  Experts with often-limited feel for the religious cultures they study are somehow allowed to set the agenda, the problem going beyond the numbing tyranny of statistics to an insidious language of disintegration and decay... As David Martin, one of the leading exponents of secularisation theory, later reflected" 'when we said the church was in trouble, we didn't expect the churches to believe us.' Martin had 'not anticipated how enthusiastically the churches would collude in their own demise'--rolling over to appease the new secular culture.  This was not a scientific process unfolding.  It was a self-fulfilling prophecy: a narrative of doom becoming a theology of panic."

Dominic Erdozain, "New Affections: Church Growth in Britain 1750-1950," in Towards a Theology of Church Growth (2015), 219.

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