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Why Christians are useless and irrelevant in today’s society. Student group presentation for Ministry, Church and Society course Based on chapters 1-2 of Rodney Clapp’s “Peculiar People”. The Church as Unchurch….

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Why christians are useless and irrelevant in today s society

Why Christians are useless and irrelevant in today’s society

Student group presentation for Ministry, Church and Society course

Based on chapters 1-2 of Rodney Clapp’s “Peculiar People”


The church as unchurch
The Church as Unchurch… society

“We seem no longer to be where the action is, where the plans are made, and where the strategies are discussed.”

--Father Henri Nouwen


  • Sentimental capitulation society

    • The church has nothing distinctive to offer or to be, yet sentimentally hangs on to its Christian language and practice anyway.

  • Retrenchment

    • Television evangelist/Presidential candidate Pat Robertson: Christian voters are the nation’s moral strength

    • Pastor D. James Kennedy: “Our responsibility in the church is to insist that the laws of this Christian nation be consistent with God’s word.”


Society vs church
Society vs. Church society

  • The more secular our society becomes, the church is seen as useless.

  • Christians feel useless because the church feels useless. And the church feels useless because it keeps on trying to perform Constantinian duties in a world that is not longer Constantinian.


What is constantinianism
What is Constantinianism? society

  • Constantine was the first emperor to declare Christianity as a national religion.

  • He was the first of a long line of leaders to see Christianity as the unifying force that might bring together the empire’s diverse population.

  • With this shift, the church derived its importance with the purpose and identity of the state.


“Christians had known as a fact of experience that the Church existed, but had to believe against appearances that Christ ruled over the world. After Constantine one knew as a fact of experience that Christ was ruling over the world, but had to believe against the evidence that there existed a believing Church.” -- Clapp


Progression of church and state
Progression of Church and State Church existed, but had to believe against appearances that Christ ruled over the world. After Constantine one knew as a fact of experience that Christ was ruling over the world, but had to believe against the evidence that there existed a believing Church.” -- Clapp

  • Those behind the Reformation wanted to renew the visible, faithful bodies of believers.

  • Deism began to emerge as a prominent worldview.


Umbrella ism
Umbrella-ism Church existed, but had to believe against appearances that Christ ruled over the world. After Constantine one knew as a fact of experience that Christ was ruling over the world, but had to believe against the evidence that there existed a believing Church.” -- Clapp

  • Christians have become misled through a Constantin-ian belief that the church is still plays a dominant role in today’s society.

  • Host of new religions are rapidly growing in our country.


The three rs
The Three Rs Church existed, but had to believe against appearances that Christ ruled over the world. After Constantine one knew as a fact of experience that Christ was ruling over the world, but had to believe against the evidence that there existed a believing Church.” -- Clapp

  • Retrenchment

  • Relinquishment

  • Radicalization


The church as private club
The Church as Private Club Church existed, but had to believe against appearances that Christ ruled over the world. After Constantine one knew as a fact of experience that Christ was ruling over the world, but had to believe against the evidence that there existed a believing Church.” -- Clapp

  • One strategy of retrenchment is the migration of faith from social and cultural and placing itself in the individual.

  • Gnosticism

    • Individualized faith

    • Attempt to escape from everything but self

    • Faith is solitary affair between God and self


Our culture s view

Jesus in history Church existed, but had to believe against appearances that Christ ruled over the world. After Constantine one knew as a fact of experience that Christ was ruling over the world, but had to believe against the evidence that there existed a believing Church.” -- Clapp

Jesus in community

Our Culture’s View…


Gnosticism s impact on the church
Gnosticism’s impact on the Church Church existed, but had to believe against appearances that Christ ruled over the world. After Constantine one knew as a fact of experience that Christ was ruling over the world, but had to believe against the evidence that there existed a believing Church.” -- Clapp

  • Church adapted by shifting its focus

    • Psychologizers/Self-Help

    • From social change to how the individual can adjust to the status quo

  • By definition, the Constantinian church is reactive and reflexive to the surrounding culture.


The god of gnostic consumerism
The God of Gnostic Consumerism Church existed, but had to believe against appearances that Christ ruled over the world. After Constantine one knew as a fact of experience that Christ was ruling over the world, but had to believe against the evidence that there existed a believing Church.” -- Clapp

  • Pressures for church leaders to focus only on individual faith.

  • People leave churches because their “needs aren’t being met.”

    • This attitude causes a doctor- patient relationship with God.

    • We have made Him a God who only meets our needs.


Dead end of privatizing faith
Dead End of Privatizing Faith Church existed, but had to believe against appearances that Christ ruled over the world. After Constantine one knew as a fact of experience that Christ was ruling over the world, but had to believe against the evidence that there existed a believing Church.” -- Clapp

  • Constantinianism has always be a “dead end theologically and sociologically.”

  • Cultural developments have rendered the Church ineffective.


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