How the American church became distracted

“In America, where Baptistic theology has been dominant since the revivals of the eighteenth century, this [the world intruding into the church, in this case taking the form of a mindset of personal independence] is precisely what has happened. The church has been coopted by the American story and become an appendage to the American democratic experiment; the Fourth of July receives more attention in many American churches than Pentecost. The church’s rites are not considered important by members or by the leadership; cultural rites of passage and cultural ‘feast days’ take priority. Church discipline is sporadic and weak, and worldly values and behavior are as likely to be found among Christians as among unbelievers. Christians no longer have a sense of living in a world that is different from the world surrounding them, because they are not living in a different world. At best, Christians are internally divided, with one foot in and one without Christian culture, speaking Zion on Sunday and the language of Ashdod during the week. And they are divided or completely assimilated because infant baptism has not, along with the Word, Supper, and Discipline, formed Christian culture in the church.”

— Peter J. Leithart, The Baptized Body


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