Theorists like Phyllis Tickle have said that in western Christianity there has been a major cultural shift every 500 years where a new type of church has started that affects all Christianity.
• ~500 CE southern split = Coptic Church [also beginning of monasticism and in the midst of the Christendom Shift]
• 1054 CE eastern split = Eastern/Greek Orthodox
• 1500’s northwestern split = Reformation, Protestantism
• 2000’s Postchristendom = Emerging Church movement
Are we in the midst of another significant cultural shift today?
I believe we are. We have a number of factors all lining up so that again we are in the midst of a major cultural and religious shift. Are there any similarities between the shifts and some of their movements? (See my essay on the similarities between Anabaptism and the Emerging Church movement under “published articles”)
What is the best response to these cultural shifts? What is the best way to bring about change to the old system? Three precursors and influencers on the Anabaptist movement illustrate three different ways to respond and bring change:
1. Erasmus: work critically within the system to bring about change
2. Karlstadt: bring about change when given opportunities by the system
3. Muntzer: promote revolutionary change to overthrow the system