In my book Post-Christian, I explore and critique post-Christian culture, but I also have a chapter entitled “Post-Christian Christianity.” In that chapter, I discuss this phenomenon in much more detail and argue that one of the main reasons for the secularism of the broader society is that our churches have become so secularized. This is especially evident in what happened in Western Europe in countries dominated by a single state church. As I say in the book, “If a culture’s religious institutions become secularized—and, indeed, begin preaching and teaching a secularist worldview—then of course secularism will reign, having no opposition or alternative.”
We Christians are apt to worry about the secularization of the culture. But what about the secularization of the church? What if we are seeing not only the rise of a post-Christian society, but the emergence of a post-Christian church?
But even God’s church of the Old Testament–with its priests, Temple, sacrifices, and Law–grew apostate, to the point of erecting pagan idols in the Temple and practicing child sacrifice, leading to its Babylonian captivity, though a remnant always remained. So we shouldn’t be too surprised if the New Testament church endures something similar, though, again, a faithful remnant will always remain.
Ex-Southern Baptist evangelical theologian Russell Moore has written a provocative article for Christianity Today entitled The Capitol Attack Signaled a Post-Christian Church, Not Merely a Post-Christian Culture.
He excoriates the Christians involved in the January 6, 2021, attacks on the Capitol building and on evangelicals’ continued commitment to right wing politics and their adulation of the morally and spiritually flawed Donald Trump. In his telling, many ostensible evangelicals have replaced Jesus with a false Messiah. He says,
But while I disagree with much of Moore’s context and his reasons for making the statement, I am haunted by the statement itself. The problem with secularism is not just with the culture “out there.” Secularism has infected the church as a whole. There really is a “post-Christian Christianity” and a “paganizing church.”
This began with the liberal theology of the mainline Protestant churches, which have also been influencing contemporary Catholicism.