Question: Many of today's Christian leaders (including my former Pastor), matter of factly state that we live in a "Post-Christian Era." My question is: aren't these leaders conveying a defeatist attitude about Christian values in the United States and other parts of Western Civilization? Isn't that what the enemy would have the church believe so that we would stop evangelizing the lost?
Response: It is true that what is commonly being heard in the West (i.e., America, Europe) is that we are living in a post-Christian era. The influence of Christianity has diminished greatly and there is a growing number of pagan, Islamic, Hindu, etc., religions moving in to fill the void. This is often used to fuel the argument that Christianity needs to change, something advanced by the Emerging Church.
Regarding the other side of the coin, Paul wrote, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Timothy:4:2). It is clear that the gospel is out of season for many. It has always been out of season in the world, but Paul clearly is addressing the church as well, for he goes on to say, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (v. 3). The Scriptures speak again and again of an apostasy in which "professing" believers will depart from the faith.
It is instructive to see how believers in Third World nations are so much more emphatic in their preaching of the gospel from Scripture. Even mainline denominational believers in Third World nations are more "evangelical" than many who identify themselves as evangelicals in the West.
We must also remember, however, that biblically there will never be a "Post-Christian Era." John spoke in Revelation of "...a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands" (Revelation:7:9). He was told, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (v. 14). So even in those last of the last days, Christianity will be on the earth. Consequently, God will always have a faithful remnant, and the fruit of that remnant "no man could number."