In his book, After Christendom, Stuart Murray defines post-Christendom as "the culture that emerges as the Christian faith loses coherence within a society that has been definitively shaped by the Christian story and as the institutions that have been developed to express Christian convictions define in influence."
Here is how Murray sees the shift occurring:
- From the center to margins. In Christendom the Christian story and the churches were central, but in post-Christendom these are marginal.
- From majority to minority. In Christendom Christians comprised the (often overwhelming) majority, but in post-Christendom, we are a minority.
- From settlers to sojourners. In Christendom Christians felt at home on a culture shaped by their story, but in post-Christendom we are aliens, exiles, and pilgrims in a culture where we no longer feel at home.
- From privilege to plurality. In Christendom Christians enjoyed many privileges, but in post-Christendom we are one community among many in a plural society.
- From control to witness. In Christendom churches could exert control over society, but in post-Christendom we exercise influence only through witnessing to our story and its implications.
- From maintenance to mission. In Christendom the emphasis was on maintaining a supposedly Christian status quo, but in post-Christendom it is on mission with a contested environment.
- From institution to movement. In Christendom churches operated mainly in institutional mode, but in post-Christendom we must become again a Christian movement.