Every so often my Baptist roots come back to me. The other day we had a meeting at church to discuss some of the ongoing ecclesiastical pit-fighting discernment in the Anglican Communion. Toward the end of the meeting, after I’d spent a good deal of time and spilled more than a few words attempting to explain the current situation in the Anglican Communion it suddenly occurred to: WAIT MAYBE THIS ISN’T ALL BAD!

What do I mean by that? Well, it’s obvious that we no longer live in Christendom–I’m certainly not the first to recognize that. And with the transition to a post-Christendom society comes a reversion to the missionary stance of the first several centuries of Christianity. No longer the establishment–even where some form of the Church is supposedly legally established–we cannot expect people to have imbibed Christian values from infancy and simply wait on them to walk through the Church door to provide the final missing piece of the puzzle for their lives. For all those churches that have said so often that they want to get back to the first century church–guess what? You got your wish. We’re living in a mission context, strangers in a strange land, where our traditions, morality and values are all up for question and challenge.

And conflict? They certainly had conflict enough in the early Church and I don’t think it’s stopped for any appreciable amount of time since then. We’re just conflicted over something new. So yes indeed, we can be assured that we’ve moved back to a New Testament model of the church–a group of Christians trying to be faithful to the gospel in the midst of conflict while a world awaits that is ready to hear the good news Jesus Christ offers to them. Are we ready to proclaim it?

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