Europe – Lost and Forgotten?

by IFES ministry

1.  Europe: God’s Continent?

"Come over to Macedonia and help us." Acts 16:9

Europe cannot be understood without Christianity and its influence in all areas of life: justice, compassion, human dignity and responsibility. If the Gospel had not been preached here, Europe would have remained an insignificant peninsula on the continent of Asia.

But Europe has always been a synthesis between Christianity and paganism: first in Greco-Roman civilization, later in humanism. Amos, the Old Testament prophet, still calls to
Europe: “Did you ever turn to me with all of your heart?”

Five Europeans created today’s environment of suspicion:

· Darwin – no need for God to explain life
· Marx – authority can’t be trusted
· Freud – morality and conscience don’t come from God
· Nietzsche – piety is always the weapon of the loser
· Kant – we can never reach truth or objective reality

Suspicion complete! People fear being trapped by religion.

“They say they want the kingdom,but they don’t want God in it.”
U2, “The Wanderer”, Zooropa

Based on the text by Wim Rietkerk, L’Abri

2.  Europe: The Prodigal Continent

Today, Europe is a mission field. The centre of gravity of theworldwide church has moved away. Europe is the prodigal continent, wasting its Judeo-Christian heritage, full of new unreached tribes alienated from the Gospel:

· Post-Christian Europeans reject the Christian worldview and values as old-fashioned and irrelevant. Modernity has marginalized faith in many European minds.
· Post-Communist Europeans have rejected science and the state as the saviours of the human race. Communism's collapse left a great spiritual and ideological vacuum.
· Post-Modern Europeans reject the scientific Modern worldview and rational attempts to create a better future. Giving space to hopelessness and cynicism.
· Post-Migrant Europeans The children of mainly Muslim immigrants without Christian heritage make up a significant proportion of Europe’s urban population which
  they will greatly influence in the future for better or for worse.

But what comes after the ‘Post’? Does the current rejection of the modern order, give the Gospel an opportunity to lay fresh foundations for tomorrow's Europe? Will the prodigal continent turn back to God?

Based on the text by Jeff Fountain, Hope for Europe

3. European Culture: The Air We Breathe

Our culture is the air we breathe. It is the sum of all the events, experiences, influences and communication that we participate in, along with the meaning and value that we attach to them.

European culture is not only a product of our past. It is shaped today by the global-isms that tell us to consume, enjoy, get rich and famous while staying forever young.

We live in an audio-visual tapestry. Culture and the media dictate who we are. Advertising, TV and films tell us who we ought to be. Even music has to be seen. Images bypass our judgement going right to our heart.

“Traditionally, most philosophical investigation took place in universities, and most spiritual reflection took place in churches. Today most philosophical investigation and spiritual reflection take place in the cinema. In the cinema we engage with a story that carries with it an underlying message, a worldview. This has an effect which shapes us philosophically and spiritually.”

Based on texts by Marcus Honeysett, Living Leadership and Nick Pollard, Damaris Trust‎