Words: Christendom

Sunday's Reflection Questions:

Do the lines between your faith and your national citizenship, at times, blur?

What are specific ways that you can live your life in such a way that it “silences the foolish talk of sinful men?”

Knowing that Christ suffered for us, as an example, how can you be encouraged in the midst of your own suffering?

Attack Upon Christendom
By Soren Kierkegaard

 This Week’s Texts: I Peter 2.19-25

Teaching LinkWords:Christendom

Downloadable group discussion sheet: .pdf

For Further Study:  The Naked Anabaptist, by Stuart Murray, Attack Upon "Christendom," by Soren Kierkegaard

In the coming weeks, the Sunday teachings will come from the core convictions that many Anabaptist Chirstians share.  While not a creed or a checklist for inclusion, these convictions can become a conversation starter for those wishing to explore Anabaptist theological distinctions more deeply.  The following discussion questions come from Herald Press, and can be found here.

Discuss the following:

Core Conviction 2:

Western culture is slowly emerging from the Christendom era when church and state jointly presided over a society in which almost all were assumed to be Christian. Whatever its positive contributions on values and institutions, Christendom seriously distorted the gospel, marginalized Jesus, and has left the churches ill equipped for mission in a post-Christendom culture. As we reflect on this, we are committed to learning from the experience and perspectives of movements such as Anabaptism that rejected standard Christendom assumptions and pursued alternative ways of thinking and behaving.

From Kierkegaard's Attack Upon "Christendom" :

When one sees what it is to be a Christian in Denmark, how could it occur to anyone that htis is what Jesus Christ talks about:  cross and agony and suffering, crucifying the flesh, suffering for the doctrine, , being salt, being sacrificed, etc?

...the official Christianity (of Denmark) is not the Christianity of the New Testament, resembling it no more than a square resembles a circle...

So I repeat.  This has to be said: by ceasing to take part in the official worship of God as it now is, thou has one guilt the less, and that a great one: thou dost not take part in treating God as a fool.

But one thing I will not do; no, not for anything in the world: I will not, though it were merely with the last quarter of the last joint of my little finger, I will not take part in what is known as official Christianity, which by suppression and by artifice gives the impression of being the Christianity of the New Testament.

How does Kierkegaard's analysis of Christianity in 19th century Denmark mirror the situation in America today?

How much evidence can you find that your community is in post-Christendom?

Are Anabaptists too hung up on Christendom—unable to appreciate its huge benefits and locked into an unhelpful Christendom/post-Christendom framework?

What “alternative ways of thinking and behaving” does the Anabaptist tradition offer? How might you learn from these?

Peter says that we are "aliens and strangers."  How helpful do you find the analogy of exile in describing the situation of the church in the West? Are there other helpful motifs we could use?

Read and discuss the questions at the top of this page.