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Retro Faith: A Christian Response to Postmodernism


Retro Faith

What will the future hold for the church? How should the church respond to the changes and challenges of postmodernism? Should the church change? The answer is that the church needs a retro faith: a return to the roots of the Christian faith. We need a first century faith for a 21st century generation of believers. We need to get back to the basics of New Testament Christianity. We need the faith that consumed the hearts and souls of the early followers of Jesus Christ.

What will the future hold for the church?

Let me make some clarifications and definitions. First Retro Christianity doesn’t mean that we should perpetuate the traditions of the past. Many denominations and churches think that if they could just return to the ‘good old days’ everything would be all right. This is the reason why many of our churches are empty. Retro Christianity is not a return to church tradition, it’s not a new denomination, (we have too many as is) and it is not a specific model of church ministry.

Retro Christianity is return to authentic Christianity. It is a call to live out the basics of the Christian faith that are directly connected to a relationship with Jesus Christ. Regardless of the culture or time period, the church needs an authentic faith that comes from God alone. Retro Christianity reminds us that we need a first century faith for a 21st century generation of believers. Unchurched people could care less about the size of our church buildings or the number on our attendance role. What people are longing for is authentic Christianity that is not restricted by church walls, denominations, or nationality. People want to connect to a real spirituality that can only come from an experiential relationship with Jesus Christ. We need to strip away all of the fluff, emotionalism, and unnecessary theological baggage and get back to the basics of faith.

Retro Christianity is not a new concept or some kind of novelty to make Christianity sound appealing to a new generation. It is not the first time that the church has tried to return to the faith and mission of the early church. John Wesley devoted his entire life to making a difference in his generation. He believed the answer was to return to “the Old religion, the religion of the Bible, the religion of the primitive Church… the religion of the heart.”3 C.S. Lewis was also moved by the writings of the early church fathers and later called the basic tenets of the Christian faith “Mere Christianity.” Contemporary writers like Richard Foster and Dallas Willard call us to return to the great traditions of the Christian church in order to find meaning and purpose in the future.4


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Category: Ministry, Spring 2007

About the Author: The Rev. Dr. Winfield H. Bevins serves as the Director of Asbury Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative. He is also the Canon for Church Planting for the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas and an adjunct professor at Trinity School for Ministry. He is the author of Plant: A Sower’s Guide to Church Planting (Seedbed, 2016), Rediscovering John Wesley (Pathway Press, 2005), Our Common Prayer: A Field Guide to the Book of Common Prayer (Simeon Press, 2013), Creed: Connect to the Basic Essentials of Historic Christian Faith (NavPress, 2011), and Grow at Home: A Beginner’s Guide to Family Discipleship (Seedbed, 2016). Amazon Author Page Facebook Twitter: @winfieldbevins

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