A substantial gain to be had from reading the New Testament narratively rather than simply theologically is that the approach allows us to describe a meaningful continuity between the outlook of the New Testament and the subsequent history of the people of God. So, for example, it seems to me that key eschatological trajectories that arise in the New Testament land not beyond history but at critical moments in the foreseen experience of the church—most importantly, the Jewish War and the conversion of the empire.
One consequence of this change of perspective is that the European church and the age of European Christendom are significantly implicated in our interpretation of the New Testament. I think this narrative focus puts us in a much better position to resolve our current post-Christendom dilemma, but we also have to consider how the global church fits into the story. This post is a sketchy and very superficial attempt to integrate the experience of the non-Western church into the argument about the symbolic and theological significance of the collapse of Christendom.