Saturday, May 08, 2010

PCA Strategic Plan: Post 8

B. Global Challenges

1. Most rapid growth of Christianity in world history

2. Re-centering of global Christianity and missionary origins (viz. Southern hemispheres Christianity)

3. Conservatism of Developing World church vs. Liberalism of Western church (e.g. African Anglican communions leading efforts to combat North American homosexual agendas and Islamic expansionism).

4. Majority World church deserving and demanding influence on global Christianity development and doctrine with significant challenges ahead, e.g., Male and female leadership of Chinese Church vs. Male leadership of Developing World church vs. Male and female leadership of Western mainline & new Evangelicals vs. Male leadership of PCA).

5. Expanse of Global Pentecostalism

6. Rise of Radical Islam (Hinduism) fueled by economic/political inequities

7. Rise of Alternative Spiritualities (as major world religions all dominated by materialistic nominalism)

8. Pandemic Threats: AIDS, Avian Flu, Bio-terrorism

9. Class stratification deepening (poverty and ethnic divides)

10. Resource concentrations increasing (oil, wealth, population, food, medicine)

11. Third World debt increasing and leading to greater disparities (and antipathies)

12. Waning impact of U.S. on global economy (and interdependence of all economies)

13. Fracturing of European Union

14. Increase of national economies dependent on drug, weapon and sex trades

15. Worldwide recession affecting church giving, staffing and mission support

16. The “Chinese-century” ahead

17. Chinese aggression concerns for Soviet and Central Asia (one-child, birth-control policy favoring males will lead to an excess of 70 million unmarried males of military age within 20 years)

18. Russian Federation re-militarization

19. Middle-east destabilization continuing with possible nuclear threats (especially as oil depletes and/or Western economies become less oil dependent)

20. African ethnic struggles destabilizing continent (allowing Islamic, Russian and Chinese encroachments)

21. World urbanization and Giga-cities (but in U.S. growth continues to be Suburban as inner cities and rural areas empty with few exceptions)

22. Technological/Informational acceleration and world compression

23. Influence of Western entertainment/pop culture dominant in Developing World

24. Aging (and decline) of Industrialized-world population vs. Youth-ifying of Majorityworld population

25. Sex trafficking the modern slavery dilemma

Summary: The church faces many challenges at the global level.

Comment: As with the previous post, it's not clear to me that we needed the committee to tell us this. Anyone with internet, a television, or (gasp!) a newspaper, knows these things. The real question is not whether these things are real challenges (they are, and not for the church only), but in what way they are challenges for the church as church. For example, with regard to #25 (sex trafficking), I'm not sure that the church as church, whether considered as the PCA in particular, or the global church, has anything other to do than to proclaim the whole counsel of God, to wit that manstealing is not only a crime, it is a sin; that rape and sexual abuse of other persons is not only a crime, but a sin; and that all who practice such things will stand at the bar of a holy God to answer for them. It may well be that particular Christians, and even coalitions of Christians, are burdened to speak and act in the political realm regarding this issue. They are not only free to do so, they should be encouraged to do so. But it is not the calling of the church as church to enter into the political arena on this or on any similar issue. The same analysis applies to most of the rest of these items.

With regard to other items, such as #4 (church in the Developing world, and the significant proportion of female leadership in that part of the church), the role of the PCA is to continue to stand for the biblical standard of male leadership, and to labor to provide increasing numbers of well-trained men to help meet the need in the global church. It would be wrong of the PCA to approve or encourage what we believe the Scriptures teach against. Instead, as Aquila and Priscilla did with Apollos we need to come alongside our brothers and sisters and explain the way of God to them more accurately (Acts 18:26).

The PCA is a tiny church. It constitutes approximately one-tenth of one percent of the US population. At present, the world population is approaching 30 times the size of the US. Thus the PCA is at best about one three-hundredth of one percent of the world population. The best thing we can do for the world is to stand firm in what we proclaim, serving as a lighthouse and direction guide to other Christians at sea in the world culture.

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