While plenty has been written on how to restore Christianity in the West (e.g. Tim Keller’s How to Reach the West Again, and ‘The Decline and Renewal of the American Church’; Jake Meador’s ‘Toward a Renewed Public Protestantism’) the focus has been on how to improve witness to the world. That is fine and good, but how the church bears witness should flow from what we are witnessing about. There’s been no meaningful call to action for equipping the church to repair its own ruins, partially because the theological and doctrinal health of the church has been taken for granted. What is assumed is soon lost, and the church has assumed its biblical health; the church’s posture, winsome or otherwise, is immaterial if all it is offering is in ruins.
And make no mistake that the American church is squandering the very basics of its witness. Orthodox Protestantism prides itself on being healthier than the broader evangelicalism of which it is a subset, yet it faces the same maladies. Our churches officially hold to Nicene orthodoxy while our people unwittingly embrace Arianism.
In times of crisis and decline, the instinct among institutions is to panic and get too creative for their own good. What the church needs is not to be reimagined, but to be restored through a resourcement from its own treasures.