I just finished another book I have to read for class, and this time it is Douglas John Hall’s The End of Christendom and the Future of Christianity. I believe this class is more skewed towards ecclesiology, so I assume the instructor assigned this brief book (it’s only sixty-six pages, and has small pages at that) to get everyone on the same general page regarding the state of Christendom in our world.
For most of you who read my blog regularly, this book is likely not worth your time. Written in 1997, he is making the argument that Christendom is over and that its demise will be a good thing for the church. Since I think that most of us already know and agree with that, the book will likely be preaching for the choir. I am more interested in books that assume the demise of Christendom and are helping us to think about new ways of approaching the church in such a context.
Not only is the book a little dated, but it is quite dry. This book is a collection of four short lectures, and they read about like someone presenting at an American Academy of Religion meeting. I was disappointed in this book because I thoroughly enjoyed reading another of his books, The Cross in Our Context: Jesus and the Suffering World. In fact, this later book written in 2003 is much more helpful in regard to guiding us in the midst of a Christendom-less world, so buy it instead. The End of Christendom might have been helpful in its day, but it is much less so now.