Skip to comments.The coming evangelical collapse (Whats up with this?)
Posted on 03/10/2009 4:02:24 AM PDT by dalight
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Am persistently somewhat torn on the issue.
I have found that some folks pay zip attention when pablum words are used.
Even if they are angered or provoked, at least THEY TEND TO THINK a little more about the issues.
Thought is good about such things, imho.
However, we are all trekking with clay feet. I’m not per se looking DOWN on anyone. Just calling a spade a spade in the hopes that some will think . . . hmmm . . . do I want to keep being a spade?
Well, with the issues as great as they are, and the damage being done to our once proud nation by “O,” I understand how you feel, trust me.
The 60’s/70’s have come back to bite us. Many Priests/Ministers who joined the church then were indoctrinated into a Socialist mantality. We have been seeing the natural outcome of this for awhile.
Thank God the Catholic Church has the ability to fight back as the last 2 Popes have been very conservative. Most Protestant Churches are rudderless as the leadership is wishy washy.
What a bunch of garbage this "article" was. This bozo thinks Christ is going to be defeated?
Sheesh. What arrogance.
Moreover, does he not think God is at work?
When the world shifts....when calamities strike....when the very foundations are shaken - God appears. Those Christ calls by name know His voice.
The new ARIS (American Religious Identification Survey) is out. Check out the numbers for yourself:
ping for your lists (as applicable). Some of the author’s observations should sound very familiar...
Also a ping
MY guess is there isn’t anything much to get.
Yeah, things will happen, some of them will be bad, others not so bad. Christians will be tempted to despair. Some will succumb, others won’t.
All of us parents will wonder if we failed to witness properly to our children. Some of us, most of us, will not have witnessed all that well, but God will move as only God can.
My suggestion: say your prayers, then turn to the funny pages and have a nice laugh.
Thanks for your kind understanding.
This concludes my comment on colorful language.
**..... the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile....**
They are starting with the Catholics, and, yes, it will spread to other Christian communities.
Learn the lessons of Lepanto and learn to pray the Rosary!
ROH ROH ROH
HO HO HO
OUT BLANKETY BLANK WEEDS!
LOVE U BIG BRO
Some of us have been saying this about Western Christianity, including the Latin Church for a while around here and getting pretty roundly condemned for it. This comment and
"Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake."
are not what people here on FR want to hear.
"Two of the beneficiaries will be the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. Evangelicals have been entering these churches in recent decades and that trend will continue, with more efforts aimed at the "conversion" of Evangelicals to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions."
We, in the Orthodox Church, are seeing this as a growing trend, a worrisome one in some quarters. The GOA has expressed its concern with the growing "protestantization" and "politization" of other Orthodox jurisdictions here in the States, both of which seem to be spearheaded by relatively recent converts from Evangelical Protestantism (but not the Piskies or Anglicans or Lutherans).
I know we can bash where this is coming from and I am sure the Christian Science Monitor printed this because they want this to happen.
Unfortunately, I think this guy is right on target. This nation overall is spiritually cold. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not being shared by most churches these days and that is where the true power is.
We are seeing and will be seeing in the near future the true “fruit” of the American Christian church has been doing the past 10 - 20 years (it probably goes back further than that). I wish it were not true.
Pray for revival again! Pray that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be shared unashamedly to a lost nation!
Why is this going to happen?
1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.
The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap ofbelieving in a cause more than a faith.
2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.
3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.
4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.
5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to "do good" is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.
6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.
7. The money will dry up.
What will be left?
Expect evangelicalism to look more like the pragmatic, therapeutic, church-growth oriented megachurches that have defined success. Emphasis will shift from doctrine to relevance, motivation, and personal success resulting in churches further compromised and weakened in their ability to pass on the faith.
Two of the beneficiaries will be the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. Evangelicals have been entering these churches in recent decades and that trend will continue, with more efforts aimed at the "conversion" of Evangelicals to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
A small band will work hard to rescue the movement from its demise through theological renewal. This is an attractive, innovative, and tireless community with outstanding media, publishing, and leadership development. Nonetheless, I believe the coming evangelical collapse will not result in a second reformation, though it may result in benefits for many churches and the beginnings of new churches.
The emerging church will largely vanish from the evangelical landscape, becoming part of the small segment of progressive mainline Protestants that remain true to the liberal vision.
Aggressively evangelistic fundamentalist churches will begin to disappear.
Charismatic-Pentecostal Christianity will become the majority report in evangelicalism. Can this community withstand heresy, relativism, and confusion? To do so, it must make a priority of biblical authority, responsible leadership, and a reemergence of orthodoxy.
Evangelicalism needs a "rescue mission" from the world Christian community. It is time for missionaries to come to America from Asia and Africa. Will they come? Will they be able to bring to our culture a more vital form of Christianity?
Expect a fragmented response to the culture war. Some Evangelicals will work to create their own countercultures, rather than try to change the culture at large. Some will continue to see conservatism and Christianity through one lens and will engage the culture war much as before a status quo the media will be all too happy to perpetuate. A significant number, however, may give up political engagement for a discipleship of deeper impact.
Is all of this a bad thing?
Evangelicalism doesn't need a bailout. Much of it needs a funeral. But what about what remains?
Is it a good thing that denominations are going to become largely irrelevant? Only if the networks that replace them are able to marshal resources, training, and vision to the mission field and into the planting and equipping of churches.
Is it a good thing that many marginal believers will depart? Possibly, if churches begin and continue the work of renewing serious church membership. We must change the conversation from the maintenance of traditional churches to developing new and culturally appropriate ones.
The ascendency of Charismatic-Pentecostal-influenced worship around the world can be a major positive for the evangelical movement if reformation can reach those churches and if it is joined with the calling, training, and mentoring of leaders. If American churches come under more of the influence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in Africa and Asia, this will be a good thing.
Will the evangelicalizing of Catholic and Orthodox communions be a good development? One can hope for greater unity and appreciation, but the history of these developments seems to be much more about a renewed vigor to "evangelize" Protestantism in the name of unity.
Will the coming collapse get Evangelicals past the pragmatism and shallowness that has brought about the loss of substance and power? Probably not. The purveyors of the evangelical circus will be in fine form, selling their wares as the promised solution to every church's problems. I expect the landscape of megachurch vacuity to be around for a very long time.
Will it shake lose the prosperity Gospel from its parasitical place on the evangelical body of Christ? Evidence from similar periods is not encouraging. American Christians seldom seem to be able to separate their theology from an overall idea of personal affluence and success.
The loss of their political clout may impel many Evangelicals to reconsider the wisdom of trying to create a "godly society." That doesn't mean they'll focus solely on saving souls, but the increasing concern will be how to keep secularism out of church, not stop it altogether. The integrity of the church as a countercultural movement with a message of "empire subversion" will increasingly replace a message of cultural and political entitlement.
Despite all of these challenges, it is impossible not to be hopeful. As one commenter has already said, "Christianity loves a crumbling empire."
We can rejoice that in the ruins, new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born. I expect to see a vital and growing house church movement. This cannot help but be good for an evangelicalism that has made buildings, numbers, and paid staff its drugs for half a century.
We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture.
I'm not a prophet. My view of evangelicalism is not authoritative or infallible. I am certainly wrong in some of these predictions. But is there anyone who is observing evangelicalism in these times who does not sense that the future of our movement holds many dangers and much potential?
Michael Spencer is a writer and communicator living and working in a Christian community in Kentucky. He describes himself as "a postevangelical reformation Christian in search of a Jesus-shaped spirituality." This essay is adapted from a series on his blog, InternetMonk.com.
You hit the nail on the head!
>>To follow the newspapers, you’d never know Bible and Prayer groups even existed
That is a really good point. My priest (I’m RC) said in his homily at Mass something interesting. He was watching the news during a recent snowstorm, and got despondent hearing about all these horrible un-Godly, un-Christian things happening in the world. Then he noticed the ticker-tape that runs along the bottom of the screen. It announces all the cancellations in the area.
A lot of the cancellations were of Godly, Christian activities that we NEVER hear about. Bible study at the Methodist Church in Waterbury, prayer group at the Baptist Church in New London, children’s choir rehearsal at St John’s Church in Glastonbury, on and on.
He was struck by all the good we are surrounded by everyday that on a normal day, does not get a column inch of coverage or a mention on the newscast.
Typically Revivals happen after either a national emergency (9/11, Pearl Harbor), or a serious decline in morality and "bottoming out"
The morals of this country are in serious decline. Evangelical churhes are ordaining openly gay ministers and ordaining woman.
Obozo had who is pro-abortion, had a large number of Catholics and prolife christians voting for him.
I read this, too.
“Why is this going to happen?” they ask.
Short answer: YOPIOS (which I suspected was the answer after reading the first few sentences - and which the rest of the article confirmed was the obvious correct answer).
As a foundation, YOPIOS always buckles under the pressure of time and community.
That is why “I want to build my life on the rock!”
It seems that those who stray from Rome - with the experience and authority God has vested in it - are always eventually doomed to fade into obscurity.
Believers will eventually be taken out.....then the world won’t have us to kick around anymore. When that happens, the Jews will be 100% of the hate focus.
Sheep That Go Astray
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How to become a Catholic
On Salvation Outside the Catholic Church
The Great Heresies
SALVATION PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
JUSTIFICATION IN CATHOLIC TEACHING
Hermits and Solitaries [Ecumenical]
THE PRIESTHOOD DEBATE
RIGHTEOUSNESS AND MERIT
A Well-Rounded Pope [Ecumenical]
A Monastery to Last 1,000 Years [Ecumenical]
Explaining Purgatory from a New Testament Perspective [Ecumenical]
In the Crosshairs of the Canon [How We Got The Bible] [Ecumenical]
'An Ordinance Forever' - The Biblical Origins of the Mass [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Church Authority In Scripture [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Catholic Tradition: Life in the Spirit [Ecumenical]
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Why do Catholics have to confess their sins to a priest instead of praying straight to God? [Ecu]
Our Times: The Age of Martyrs
The Eucharist - the Lord's Sacrifice, Banquet and Presence
Beginning Catholic: Catholic Morality: Life in Christ [Ecumenical]
Chosen In Him: The Catholic Teaching on Predestination [Ecumenical]
The Sacraments [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: A Strong Start in the Faith: The Catholic RCIA Stages [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The RCIA Inquiry Stage In the Catholic Church [Ecumenical]
Evangelicals: Change of Heart toward Catholics
Beginning Catholic: The Creed Of The People Of God: The Essentials/Catholic Belief [Ecumenical]
An open letter to Mr. Stephen A. Baldwin, Actor, and born again Christian.
Beginning Catholic: Catholic Purgatory: What Does It Mean? [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: The Kingdom of God Taking The Center Of Christ's Teaching Into The Heart Of Your Faith
The Language of Love
Beginning Catholic: The Essentials: Basic Catholic Prayers [Ecumenical]
Why Mary Appears/The Mariology Gap (Cath-Orth Caucus)
Beginning Catholic: How to Pray: A Catholic Guide to the Interior Life [Ecumenical]
A have -> I have
There is no doctrine, no theology, nothing to define why they believe what they believe other than what the latest uber minister has said on TBN or some thing. When the personalities go away, many of these big churches die. I have seen it happen a lot.
They aren't going to become Catholics, they will stop being Christians.
The Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s came and went, leaving many Deists behind. People argue today about how religious the Founding Fathers were: that's because the Founders lived in the more secularist and rationalist lull between two very strong revival movements.
The Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century left behind "burned-over" districts, where people had had enough of religiosity and revivalism. I don't know if the movements that developed in the "burned-over district" of upstate New York -- Mormonism, Millerism, spiritualism, the Oneida colony -- were a part of the Second Great Awakening or the reaction against it.
The same goes for the rise of reformism -- abolitionism, feminism, socialist communities, prohibitionism -- that accompanied the fading of the evangelical revival. But it's clear that the revivalist spirit did die down. The children and grandchildren of the evangelicals and reformers were pretty cynical and materialistic by the 1870s.
If there was a Third Great Awakening in the late 19th century we can also see how that ended. First, in the secular reformist and progressivist movements of the early 20th century, and later with the prevailing cynicism of the 1920s. So it's no secret that these evangelical eras do end. Maybe the surprise is that they keep recurring.
Interesting -- those from liturgical backgrounds...?
“Interesting — those from liturgical backgrounds...?”
Maybe; I think its more that Orthodox “race memory” I’ve mentioned before. Of course, a liturgical mindset would be part of that.
What’s funny is how much vicious hatred is expressed against atheists and those of other religions these days. Not very Christian.
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