“It is undeniable that the church is no longer conceived by the vast majority as the cultural space where certain critical things happen, even as its institutional shape communicates traditional notions. Indeed postmodernity has drastically undermined a view of culture in which religious faith in general and Christian belief in particular provided the unifying bonds for a coherent worldview. Today, given the pervasiveness of pluralism and the accompanying ethnic and social diversity, this is no longer credible for many people. In fact, so single voice or entity can claim to speak for everyone today. As a result, many traditional structures are under attack, including the institutional church.”
They go on to say that:
… “it is not hard to see why so many in today’s world do not relate to the church as it is currently organized. It appears to be large and bureaucratic in the face of a widespread desire for close and intimate relationships. The often abstract moral codes it offers do not touch the postmoderns’ spiritual quest for personal fulfillment. In short, the church is seen to harbor hypocrites rather than genuine strugglers for meaning. A primary characteristic of today’s postmodern generation is its suspicion of large, impersonal structures and its longing for community. We see this as a wonderful opportunity for the church and for the missionary life that should characterize this church.”
The sentence that strikes me in the above section is this:
“It is undeniable that the church is no longer conceived by the vast majority as the cultural space where certain critical things happen, even as its institutional shape communicates traditional notions.” It’s very similar to George Hunsberger’s concern that we’ve reduced the church to ” a place where things happen.” If the church is defining itself as that, and those outside of the church are debunking that definition, then perhaps it’s time for the church to redefine what it actually is.
I think the above quotes lend much towards understanding why certain groups are “leaving the church,” but also address some key questions which need to be asked:
1. Is this view of the church universal and embraced by all post-moderns, or are there, like there have always been, pockets of differing thoughts throughout the world and its diverse cultural contexts?
2. Is it true that “no single voice or entity can claim to speak for everyone?” Isn’t that the core premise of Christ and Christianity?
3. Does the structure or organization of the church help or hinder the transmission of its message?
4. Is the church suppose to be a place for those who are “struggling for meaning?”
5. If the post-modern mind “longs for community,” then how is that any different different than the pre-modern or modern thinkers and how does it change mission which has always been birthed in community?
 Hunsberger and Van Gelder, 337