Original Research - Special Collection: Structural subjects - Church History and Systematic Theology

The church and the secular: The effect of the post-secular on Christianity

Jaco Beyers
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 1 | a2605 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2605 | © 2014 Jaco Beyers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 January 2014 | Published: 15 July 2014

About the author(s)

Jaco Beyers, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Paradigms determine relationships. During the Enlightenment period Emile Durkheim proposed a relationship between the sacred and the profane. Religion, which is concerned with the sacred, was defined in terms of being different from the profane. The profane came to denote the secular. The organic character of religion caused some scholars to predict the end of the church at the hand of modernisation and rationalisation. Some scholars instead envisaged a new form and function of the church. Some scholars anticipated the growth of Christianity. Reality shows that Christianity has not died out but seems to be growing. The new era we are currently in (identified as the postmodern) has been described as the post-secular age where a process of re-sacralisation takes place. How will the post-secular influence the church? What will the relationship between the church and the secular be like under a new paradigm? This article suggests that within a postmodern paradigm, the post-secular will emphasise the place of the individual in the church. Fragmentation of society will also be the result of the post-secular. Religiosity in future will have to contend with fundamentalism and civil religion.


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