Here are 4 questions that I think are still unanswered for the church of tomorrow:
What or who has authority in the Church?
In premodern Christianity, the authority for the faith rested largely on the authority figures. The question was, “What did the church leaders and councils say?” Thanks to Martin Luther, modern Christianity moved the authority to scripture. The question was, “What does the Bible say?” Post-modern and post-christendom Christianity does not want to locate the authority in the scriptures, so the questions, what will the authority of the future church be?
What will the language of our faith be for postmodernity?
Every age of the Christian faith has developed its own language for the faith. Early Christians would not have talked about “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” The medieval church did not use language of getting “saved” the way we do. I think there will be church conflict in the future over the language of our faith. How can we express our faith in a way that is true to the faith of old but also speaks to current listeners?
How will we be stewards of technology?
Technology is changing our world. We are so much more connected than we have ever been while being simultaneously more isolated. There is research now trying to explore how technology is actually changing how our brains work. There are still a lot of questions about how technology will fit into the church. It certainly has the potential to add to the work of the church, but it also has the ability to distract the church the same way it can distract people.
What will be the high point of worship?
Premodern worship was focused on the eucharist. Modern worship shifted its focus to the sermon. What will the highpoint of worship in the cuter church be? Will it be again the sacrament? Will it be a discussion time following the sermon? This question is still up in the air.
Many will have strong opinions on these issues. I see conflict over these questions on the horizons. The church has never been a very quick reacting or forward thinking organism. We should not, however, panic. These cannot mark the end of Christianity. It may change and shift, but it remains the bride of Christ. He will take care of it.