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As we look forward, our present activity must be rooted in God’s kingdom work throughout redemptive history.

The glum cacophony of voices bemoaning the state of the church in North America presents a bleak deconstructionist’s portrait of the future. It does not look good. With the diagnosis come heaps of questions clamoring for immediate answers:

  • How does the rise of the “nones” and “dones” influence our missiology?
  • How does the pervasive nature of racism and associations within evangelicalism influence our posture toward the marginalized, particularly in urban centers?
  • How have the lingering implications of our unwavering embrace of church growth paradigms neutered the mission of the church?

These are important and necessary questions that are, unfortunately, often met with more hand wringing than thoughtful solutions. When authentic attempts are made at devising answers for the future, they often presuppose our current sociological and ecclesiological realities as the starting point for envisioning the future.

Perhaps this is the wrong place to start.

Maybe we need to look a little further into the past. Maybe a lot further.

This isn’t the first time the church has faced a hostile culture, lost its voice in a secularized world, or cowered in the face of political foes from every side. Many of us have never been here before, but God’s people certainly have seen worse days.

Before we propose any future strategy, we must first root our activity in the history of God’s kingdom work throughout redemptive history. After all, history is his story.

Which forces us to ask the big question: “What does God want?” Not, what does God want to do with the challenges facing the church in North America? We will get there in time.

But, what has God always wanted for his people?

There are those in …

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