Fr. Stephen Powley
Over the past few years the media has been asserting as “fact” that we are living in a post-Christian era. Christianity has had its day and it is over. What is so very disturbing is that some Christian clergy and laity have been saying the same thing. If something is said often enough, does it really become fact?
How many times has the world proclaimed the end of Christianity? It was proclaimed right after the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus Himself. That of course didn’t last long, three short days in fact.
When Constantinople was attacked by Muslim forces and defeated, don’t you know that many folks thought that was the end of Christianity. Marx and Lenin thought they had ended Christianity with the communist takeover of Russia. Today, Christianity is proclaimed loud and clear in that country.
Much of the world today is embracing the “religion” of secularism. It is this movement that seems to shout the loudest that Christianity is over. They may believe that with all their hearts, but so have others throughout history. The secular movement will eventually crash and people will be looking again for some meaning to their lives. The only real meaning to life is found in Jesus Christ and that will never go away.
Brothers and sisters, we are not a part of a dying religion. We belong to the Living Lord and to His Living Church. Remember His words from the Gospel of Matthew: “I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
If the very gates of hell cannot prevail against His Church, why would members of that Church tremble at the rantings of mere men and their meaningless philosophy?
Throughout history the Church has survived persecutions, martyrdoms, heresies, and false philosophies. Over the past 2,000 years all of these things come and go on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes they last for a few centuries, but they do end. True Christianity will be here long after the secularist movement has become a note in a history book.
Indeed, the Church will be here to offer solace to shattered lives and to bring meaning to lives that have lost hope through meaningless philosophies. It is the calling of all Orthodox Christians to carry the Faith to the next generation and not to get caught up with the proclamations of this world. A good thing for us to keep in mind comes from Hebrews 13: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away with various and strange doctrines.”
If you become concerned about us living in a Post-Christian Era, remember that word “forever” from our Lord. He is not leaving us nor is He going to change. He alone remains the same and He will still be transforming lives long after this secularist movement has crashed. In fact, He will welcome with open arms all of those who rejected Him for the pleasures of this world.
One day there will be many “prodigal sons and daughters” coming home to the Father. That home is the Living Church of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Stephen is pastor of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Pueblo, Colo. and serves as executive director of Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry under the Assembly of Bishops.