I do not believe there is any way back to Christendom, nor do I want to see this flawed system restored.
The Christendom era has left the body of Christ with toxins in its bloodstream- practices, instincts, commitments, structures, attitudes, biases, compromises, and reactions that damage our health and disfigure our witness. We need to purge these toxins from our system.
-Stuart Murray (The Naked Anabaptist)
I'm inclined to disagree with Stuart- entirely. The more I read into what Murray describes as "Christendom" the more I lament its loss and the more I hope that it will be radically restored to us. Indeed, the last thing we need kicking around is another form of "Emergent" theology which stands under the guise of the now trendy term "Anabaptism". Let it be said that those who today call themselves Anabaptists are actually not Anabaptists at all.....they haven't been re-baptized and I have not yet come into contact with a single one of them who advocates the practice of re-baptism.
Anyways, back to the point. Here is what Murray describes as Christendom:
.Christendom was a geographical region in which almost everyone was at least nominally Christian.
.Christendom was a historical era resulting from the fourth-century conversion of Constantine and lasting into the late twentieth century.
.Christendom was a civilization decisevly shaped by the story, language, symbols, and rhythms of Christianity.
.Christendom was a political arrangement in which church and state provided mutual, if often uneasy, support and legitimation.
.Christendom was an ideology, a mindset, a way of thinking about God's activity in the world. (Taken from p.73)
Oh bring it back!!!!! Please!!!!! Anything but this wretchedly banal thing called the "pluralistic era" or the "post-colonial" phase of communist laziness.
Seriously, who would ever have a beef or an ax to grind with the societal criterion described by Murray? It sounds remarkably awesome!
I for one always beam from ear to ear when I read of Constantine's conversion and his programs towards making Christianity the state religion. Christianity should be the state religion because Jesus (not Allah, not Karma, not a positive force field previously known as the aether, and most certainly not a secular principle of human self-consciousness which sets itself over and against God) is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (cf. the entire book of Revelation, and after that...the rest of the bible). I highly doubt that it is the task of Christians to usher in this blessed necessity...but man if it comes, I soooo welcome it.
Check out the words of Paul: ".....so that all nations might believe and obey him." Rom.16:26. Did you hear that? That's the goal of the revealed gospel: the subjection of all nations on this planet to belief in Jesus and obedience to His Name.
Pluralism is a sham, and politicians must be made aware that they have obligations to Jesus their Lord....they must be made aware that they must render account for the theological stance they represent in the political sphere. It may be the duty of the Christians to remind politicians of this...I don't know. One thing I do know is that God is not a secularist, and He is certainly not content with any civilization that attempts to cooly distance itself from His concrete and Jealous commandment to faith and baptism.
A society which promotes religious freedom and plurality is not God's society, nor does it stand in the bee-line of His blessing. It just doesn't. Idolatry is a crime that stinks to the high heavens....it is an adultery and a pernicious theft that far exceeds the petty things our society contemns....the bible knows of no other response to political toleration of this crime than fierce judgment from the Hand of God. This is why rulers like Josiah, Hezekiah or the older Manasseh who fear God and purge the land of religious syncretism receive such high accolades in scripture, and rulers like Nebuchadnezzar (who sacrificed to his own strength, so Hab.) and Sennacherib and Antiochus Epiphanes get destruction. I'm not advocating that the church take up arms and resist public idolatry.....what I am suggesting is that politicians should, and the degree to which they do not will determine the severity of the judgment due them.