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Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World (After Christendom) [Paperback]

Stuart Murray
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Nov 2011
The end of Christendom, where the Christian story was known and the church was central, invites Christians in western culture to embrace marginality and discover fresh ways of being church and engaging in mission. While the transition from modernity to postmodernity has received a huge amount of attention, the shift from Christendom to post-Christendom has not yet been fully explored. This book is an introduction; a journey into the past, an interpretation of the present and an invitation to ask what following Jesus might mean in the strange new world of post-Christendom. Drawing on insights from the early Christians, dissident movements and the world church, this book challenges conventional ways of thinking. For those who dare to imagine new ways of following Jesus on the margins, it invites a realistic and hopeful response to challenges and opportunities awaiting us in the 21st century.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Authentic Media (2 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842272616
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842272619
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.3 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 413,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best in its genre 10 Feb 2007
I loved this book. And I am genuinely thankful to Stuart for doing it. It is scholarly in the classically British way--understated, gentle, articulate, and thoroughly devasating to views that have held that Christendom was the acme of a so-called Christian civilization. If you are trying to get to grips with what the church must be and become, particularly from the missional perspective. Then this is a must read.

And all this coming from an Aussie. It must be good. :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ for any Christian minister. 4 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Post-Christendom, Stuart Murray
In Post-Christendom, Stuart Murray surveys the history of Christendom from its inception to its recent demise. Many currently moan Christendom's death and seek to turn back the clock to this bygone era, but Murray celebrates the end of Christendom and all of its abuses of power.
In this work, Murray gives many reasons why the brave new world of post-Christendom is preferable to Christendom, drawing insights primarily from history, sociology, and theology.

One reason that Murray gives for why post-Christendom is to be preferred to Christendom is that it produced nominalism. The Christendom era began with Constantine, who showered the church with favors such as tax exemptions, land and food endowments for church employees, the closing of many pagan temples, and an honored place at the table of the emperor. With this political endorsement, thousands swarmed into churches. Church leaders were overwhelmed, and so the pre- and post-baptismal process was shortened, greatly reducing the commitment of disciples.
A second reason that Murray gives for why post-Christendom is to be preferred to Christendom is that Christendom created resentment towards churches and thus the gospel. With Constantine's conversion, the state soon began to enforce Christianity through the use of force, and hundreds of years of bloodshed and abuse of power ensued. This history, combined with the rise of secularization, has caused the culture to reject propagation of the gospel or morality through laws or institutional Christianity.
A third reason that Murray gives for why post-Christendom is to be preferred to Christendom is theological in nature. Under Christendom, everyone was "Christian" virtually by birth.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Revenge of the angry Anabaptist 29 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is perhaps one of the worst books on secularisation I have ever had the misfortune to read (and I have read most of the (Post-Christendom series of books, of which this book is part). My main complaint is that it is written wholly from an ungracious and angry Anabaptist stance, one that refuses to see the flaws in its own argument and which tries to rehabilitate various heresies (Donatism and Pelagianism) precisely because they were identified as being heretical, not because they have any intellectual or theological coherence (something this book also lacks).

On reading this book one comes away with not an understanding of what "Post-Christendom" might actually be (I prefer the term quasi-pagan myself, as I believe this better describes out current situation, see Anton Wessells work for instance), rather what we are left with is a sense of incoherent rage, but no real sense of how the Universal Church should approach this situation.

Finally, this book is littered with far too many lists, a form of writing which means the text lose what little coherence it might have had and force the reader to crawl through barely related ideas which the author could not be bothered to link together into a serious narrative.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It has a point but from one point of view 19 Aug 2012
By Nicky01
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book buries some interesting points within a book which is too big for itself. It wanders entirely off the point to back up its own argument by a gallop through history from a single point of view. This is either a provocative book which shakes up some over comfortable assumptions and throws down the gauntlet to modern ways of doing church, or it's a 'rant against machine' which ends up throwing out the ecclesiastical baby with the structural bathwater.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Start of an important new series 26 Aug 2008
Post-Christendom is the first in the After Christendom series, looking at the the inevitable collapse of Christendom (the link between church and state that has defined Western civilisation for most of the last 2000 years) and its implications for the church.

Writing out of the Anabaptist tradition, Murray views this as a wholly good thing. For him (as for many Christians), Constantine's endorsement of the church at the beginning of the 4th century was where it all went horribly wrong. Corruption was not necessarily inevitable, but compromise certainly was. It is on the margins (and often under persecution) that the church has historically modelled a more authentic witness.

In the first half of his book, Murray gives us an historical overview of the growing comprise leading from the early church leaders' decision. He then focuses on specific issues, including the way that the Bible was read (Old Testament rather than Gospels) and the pushing of Jesus from the centre to the margins (as the church made the opposite journey).

He ends with a look at how the church can function (is already beginning to function) as Christendom breaks down. After a strong start, the book begins to fray a little here, with some points being repeated several times. This is a minor quibble as the point of the series is that these themes will be developed in the following volumes. Post-Christendom is a strong start to an important new series. It is followed by: Church After Christendom, Faith and Politics After Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy (After Christendom) and Youth Work After Christendom (After Christendom)
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