Towards Participating in the Great Commission: Remaining Opportunities in North America

Article 2 in a series of articles based upon the Lausanne North America Listening Call

Question 1: What are the most significant gaps and remaining opportunities in North America toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission?

In our last article, we outlined four significant gaps that we, as evangelicals in North America, need to close in order to continue to participate and fulfill the Great Commission. In this article, we turn our attention to the “remaining opportunities” that evangelicals need to address in order to fulfill the Great Commission. From our listening call, some of the recurring remaining opportunities can be summarized under the following four themes.

1. Disentangling the Church from a Christendom Mentality

Churches in the West have been in a transitional moment for at least a couple centuries. Since the fourth century the church in the West has experienced a cultural hegemony—a.k.a. Christendom. However, things began to slowly change and transition with the dawn of the Enlightenment. Human beings, particularly many elites in places of cultural power, began de-emphasizing and dismissing God, leading to (at least conceptually) the dethronement and death of God in society.

While this transition has been seemingly slow over the last few centuries, it has, however, been gaining much steam in the later part of the 20th and early 21st centuries. [This acceleration gave rise to the culture wars in American life that began in the late 70s/early 80s.] What makes this transition hard for Christians, say living in America, is the transition of cultural power. As a nation founded upon religious freedom—rooted in Judeo-Christian values—and thus pluralism, Christians enjoyed the prominent seat at the cultural table given that culture took on more of a moral disposition reflective …

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