The Church is faced with many problems: both internal and external. Internal problems are called controversies. Those from the outside are apologetic problems, meaning those that call for defending the faith. Let’s briefly look at some internal problems within the Church, but mainly focus on the challenges that lie at the interface between the Church and the world. Because that’s where the real stakes are. There’s the problem of priesthood, celibacy, tensions among church leaders, Christian and ministerial ethics, vocations, and many others. Another reality is the refusal to truly confront faith and intelligence, reason and the believing approach (R. Rémond, Christianity on Trial, p. 93).

But perhaps the real problem is not there. Isn’t the true internal problem of the Church primarily spiritual decline and the loss of its identity? What could be the cause of the Church’s weakness? How did it come to this? Questions haunt the minds of every vigilant observer: why is the question of the Church or Christianity a major concern? Why has Christianity faced so much opposition throughout its existence? Can it survive all these fierce attacks? “Are things going well or badly in the Church?” asks the curious little boy. “Both well and badly,” replies the Sage. One might say it’s an ecclesiastical response, but the Sage is right.

As Nicolas Farrell and Christophe Paya have said, we should not think that all today’s questions are new. Some subjects traverse history as constants. But it is up to each generation of Christians to wonder what kind of world they live in and to listen to the spiritual quest of their contemporaries.

Burning questions revolve around the main poles of reflection, among others: theology and the main Christian doctrines and themes; the Bible and the broad questions it poses; ethics and the major moral questions of today, sometimes burning and painful, whether individual or collective; culture and society, and therefore the main trends of today’s world; faith and religion, in order to place Christian faith in the highly diversified religious and spiritual world that modern globalization places us in; philosophy and values, in other words the major currents that shape the thought and behaviors of our contemporaries. Challenges have been met and succeeded. Let’s think about the biblical renewal.

The Bible has entered so many households and there are Bible groups everywhere. And Sunday worship in numerous Christian assemblies or small denominational groups about fifty years ago. Christians are active in churches everywhere, and for many years now, pastoral care has not been the sole responsibility of a one-man band, the priest or pastor or others. Only God knows the number of prayer and reflection groups that gather in homes every evening; a quantity of new spiritual movements are emerging; everywhere there is a deep desire for prayer and even mysticism.

On the shelves of bookstores and in libraries, a whole literature of spirituality has succeeded the wave of new theology with the aim of spreading the Gospel and edifying the members of these different congregations. But is it really negative? Despite all these apparent efforts, has the Church been able to stand against its adversaries? Has it maintained its influence as it did at the beginning? What makes it weak?

Certainly the Church does not have an easy task: it is assailed by all the questions of our time, unprecedented and often even brutal. It receives them full in the face. Everyone seems to agree that something must be done. If it is true that the Church struggles to respond to the relentless interrogation of modern culture, science, technology, culture and public opinion, worldview, it is no less true that our time almost always poses the real questions. The answer may be difficult to give, but it is already a huge advantage to be asked the right questions. For a good question often contains within itself the embryo of the correct answer.

One of the greatest challenges facing the Church is the problem of the existence of God and the world of the invisible. Next comes the solution to the problem of man’s sin; a solution that man rejects wholesale through false reasoning that further misleads him. Since the Renaissance and the beginnings of positive sciences and technology thereafter, there has been a kind of eclipse in human consciousness in the perception of the invisible world and of God. The birth of a culture dominated above all by rationality, efficiency, profitability, and the need for verification has made the quantitative the measure of all reality.

Another problem is that the Church lacks vigilance against seduction. It is easily seduced. The devil uses the same strategy he used in the Garden of Eden. The same strategy in the desert to try to overthrow the Lord Jesus. It’s about seduction and temptation. Moreover, the Church seems to spend its time playing a bad game: scoring goals in its own goal. To shed light on the subject, we have opted for a critical plan. During our work, we will dedicate the first chapter to the introduction and definitions to understand the different concepts of our theme.

In the second chapter, we will address the subject from a panoramic view of the history of Christianity and its challenges. Chapter three deals with the subject “The reasons for the spiritual decline of the Church”. It will be a question of making a critical evaluation of the theological methods and arguments against Christianity in chapter four. In chapter five, we will make proposals on theological prescriptions for the restoration of the church. It is in chapter six that we will conclude our scientific work.

This text is an excerpt from the book “CHRISTIANITY AND ITS CHALLENGES” written by Jérémie TCHINDEBE.

We invite you to read the following article “IN THE ERA OF CHRISTIANITY“.

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