Somewhere along the way the Christian church has lost confidence in itself. There is no longer the belief that proclamation of the Gospel can change the culture. But politics apparently can succeed where the Gospel has failed.
Why this mistaken belief in the political order? There are many aspects to an answer to this question. But at the center of it all is a radical change not only in the message of the Gospel but in the way that the message is proclaimed.
Since the Protestant Reformation there has been a significant shift in the view of the Church. Part of this radical change is understandable. The Catholic Church had become part of the problem, trying to control the political realm as the mechanism to evangelize the world.
Such a belief, however, was not evident in the period that involved the Christianization of Europe. In this period, Christians carried out the Great Commission. This has a threefold aspect: to make disciples, to baptize and to teach.
What is not understood so well is the command to make disciples. What does this mean? What does it involve? How should it be done?
And how will we ever know when we have succeeded?
Ian Hodge, PhD