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10 The Death of Western Christianity.

Patrick Sookhdeo, The Death of Western Christianity. Drinking From the Poisoned Wells of the Cultural Revolution, McLean, Virginia, 2017. ISBN 978-0-9977033-4-4

This is indeed a disturbing book, as George Carey’s Foreword says – indeed, chilling. I had known (as who can’t – well, lots of Western Christians, apparently) that the Church in the West was in a very parlous state. Having a British, Anglican, perspective, I had known the extent to which the Episcopal Church USA had succumbed to Western materialist values (and its resultant decline), and the extent to which the Church of England was following it (p. 110, 167), but I hadn’t known the full extent of the dreadful influence, in American Evangelicalism, of such things as the me culture, the dumbing-down of the Gospel and essential Christian ideas (goodbye ‘sin’), the shapelessness of worship, the destruction of marriage and the full extent of pornography addiction (Ch. 3, etc.). Contrast all of this with his heart-rending story of ‘one-way missionaries’, who, in former times, travelled to far-flung regions accompanied by their own coffin (pp. 54-59.

Of course, many Christians deny that the State is out to get them; perhaps, reasonably, they are currently able to do so, and will – for a little while longer. Even worse than state harassment, perhaps, is the utter hatred of Christians, by such as academics (p. 99-101) – it is not enough to say that only a few people are this virulent; many more would be, will be, when the last vestiges of the old respect for people with beliefs other than your own, is stripped away (are such people never asked what they feel about the members of other religions? – no, I suspect not, for anti-Christianity is gestated within closeted minds which are never examined, questioned). And then, there is Sookhdeo’s exposure of the acid of ‘post-truthism’, as well as postmodernism and the death of reason (Ch. 5; don’t those militant atheist-scientists do any complaining about that? You would think they would – but they probably know, at some level, that such things actually further their cause).

But what do we do, now? – that is always the question. Sookhdeo suggests a vigorous tightening-up, as it were, of the Church, and Christians: we have to recover who we are, what we stand for and stand up for, the way of our living, and worshipping, and make sure – very sure – it conforms closely with what we find in the Bible, and the traditions of true Christianity,  rather than the “poisoned wells” of the culture (good phrase that; toxicity such as we have never known before); he refers to, but does not specifically comment on, the, as it were, ‘withdrawal’ approach found in Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option (2017) (see this page, below). His sections contrasting the ways of Christians and Muslims is particularly full of insight (pp. 139-141).

On the source of theistic decline in the West, and the twilight of faith, there are various theories, including: the powerful reaction to the post-Reformation Wars of Religion, the (ethical) influence of the world wars, and the conscious spreading of materialism in the form of promoted evolutionism (suggested by me in my little book Christianity and Materialism (2015)). In Sookhdeo’s book, much useful information is given about the propagation of Cultural Marxism, from the Frankfurt School to its successors in US academia and beyond (pp. 31-4). Of course, one does not expect a full Christian analysis of the rise of modern (materialist) culture in such a book; but it does give lots of information and facts – chilling facts. Time and again, in meditations and Christian writings, one is assured that God is in ultimate control of history, and all is planned to a good end; right now, it is hard to see where we are going, and where the goodness will be coming from; not, I suspect, from here – the West.

November 2017

 

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