The American Church in the Twenty-First Century (Part Final)

(Link to Part Two)

With the rise of the church in developing nations and continents, the American church will most likely begin to bear some resemblance to churches globally. Long has it been observed by foreign Christians that American Christianity is much more individually fashioned rather than community oriented, as well as a preference of language that includes personal freedom, and a ease of acceptance of the role of commerce in their faith.[1] As the influence of Christianity shifts out of the United States into places like Africa and Asia, the influences of orthodoxy and orthopraxy will begin to shape the American church. Just as American missionaries established churches in foreign countries with heavily western influences, so will this new shift in influence and growth affect churches in America. Take for example the issues of poverty in many developing nations where Christianity has dramatically risen. In previous decades, the American church has been aware of the problems facing the people of these nations. Yet, it never fully received the attention that it deserved.[2] With the change in where Christianity is strongest, tied to the expansion of digital technology, the persecutions that Christians face globally will be in the homes of American Christians in a timeliness and intensity that was impossible before. Issues such as human trafficking, women’s rights, and Islam will be major challenges for the global church that American Christians will be more educated on and more active in dealing with.

The American church in 2050 will be one that has adapted to a landscape that has seen its local influence in various arenas decline. It will face new challenges that are just beginning to be discussed currently. It will most likely be a smaller, more ethnically diverse church, with fewer resources. The church of 2050 will have adapted to a landscape of post modern thought and pluralism, and it will have begun to learn how to best communicate the absolute truth of the Gospel to its culture. The church in 2050 will have to better communicate the relationship of the sciences with faith than its predecessors. With technology as a powerful resource, the American church of the future will partner itself with great Christians and great movements globally. It will not be unheard of that many missionaries from around the world will move into the United States to build new churches for new people to hear the gospel, and to take part in a life of faith. The church in America’s future will most likely look much different than it does today, but it will be a church that has “trimmed the fat”, and has a deeper focus as being an authentic community of God.

[1] Mark Noll. The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith. Surrey: IVP Academic, 2009. 120.

[2] Mark Noll. The New Shape of World Christianity, 148.

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